Introducing Miss Taiwanese American
Cheering and applause was all that filled the air around her that night. That night, junior Sabrina Chou was crowned Miss Taiwanese American.
On a regular weekend, Chou sits through hours of applying makeup as well as trying on dresses prior to competitions. Chou also models on Fridays, with a combination of both private and public practices held on the weekends to prepare her for the pageant.
“You get comfortable with it. One [practice] after another, more confidence builds in you, because you’re putting yourself out there and it’s very scary. But then with the experience comes the confidence,” Chou said.
In the current pageant Chou is competing in, Miss Teenage USA, she is sponsored by a variety of companies such as Nissan and State Farm. The International American University is the main sponsor for Chou, providing both a scholarship and recommendation for her which allows her to pursue a career in Business Management at the college of her choice.
“Because of the scholarship, I am allowed to pursue my dream and career wise I can go further because of the degrees that they offer too. It really is a big help on my family financially so that I don’t have to apply for financial aid. It’s just a really generous offer through the pageant,” Chou said.
Representing the Taiwanese community well is a priority for Chou. By portraying them, she hopes to bring out more attention to the community and to their culture.
“Honestly, I’m doing this for myself, my family and for my Taiwanese-American community,” Chou said, “I want to raise awareness for the community, [so they can have] a larger presence in America.”
A typical weekday for Chou involves attending Miss Tina’s Modeling School. Here, Miss Tina, a private teacher, instructs Sabrina on catwalking, good posture and fashion modeling. Weekday practices typically start at 4:00p.m. and end at 7 p.m. everyday. Without proper time management, practice and dedication would not be possible for Chou.
“I still devote a lot of time toward homework and studying, and schoolwork is very important to me because even though I’m doing this beauty pageant on the side, it’s for myself. [Time management] is really important to me.”
Nonetheless, Chou still continues to compete in pageants while still making new friendships, all of whom add to her family of “pageant sisters,” a group of girls bonded closely together through pageants.
“For me, it was about finding and building myself up, because [throughout] middle school and at the start of high school, I was going through depression, anxiety, and a lot of other things. All of [which] made it hard and difficult for me,” Chou said. “I [also] didn’t really have a support system within my family. But through pageantry, it really helped me grow as a person and I’ve developed more confidence. Now [I’m] more open with others and I’ve even built a support system within my family too. I’m really thankful for participating in pageants.”
By Matthew Au, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Sabrina Chou