25th Annual Miss Asia USA & Mrs. Asia USA Cultural Pageant – And The Winner Is?
Saturday November 9th 2013 at The Redondo Beach Performing Center was the place to be! Virgelia Villegas, President of Virgelia Productions brought the Glitz & Glamour to the 25th Annual Silver Anniversary Miss Asia USA & Mrs. Asia USA Cultural Pageant.
As this year’s delegates were backstage getting ready for the show, a sea of proud parents, sisters and brothers filled the lobby. There were also enthusiatic friends and fans who brought signs and banners to cheer on there favorite beauty queen. As we all waited, everyone took pictures on the red carpet with past winners and delegates from years before was exciting to witness. Everywhere I turned there was a beautiful woman in a sparkling crown, with a stunning floor length gown filled with gems in eye popping colors. As I continued to walk around, I ran into the Host of the event Michael Copon & Karen Ann Volen who is Mrs. California America 2013. Another great beauty i chatted with, was co-host Smita Vasant Mrs. Asia USA 2007 from India. Also in attendance, being charming and charismatic was Frederic Prinz Von Anhalt wearing a Lederhosen suit.
When the doors opened, everyone rushed to their seats in anticipation for the show to begin. The judges for the night were Rodri Rodriguez, Paul Dreher, Joey Galon, John L. Gray, Henry Fan & Jason Quinn. The curtains rose and there they were, 25 delegates in all of their glory. Wearing signature cultural costumes from their respective countries, my eyes couldn’t get enough of what I saw. The brightest engaging colors and the most distinctive national costumes ever, worn with beauty and grace. Miss Asia USA & Mrs. Asia USA combined showcased outfits filled with feathers and fans, headpieces as large as 2 feet high; each country was represented well as the woman slowly danced around the stage. Finally they introduced themselves and the show was underway. The Host Michael Copon & Karen Ann Volen did a great job, they came polished and well prepared. There were minor glitches to the program, but they made jokes and kept everyone highly entertained.
Virgelia Productions producers and staff keep things moving nicely, putting together singing performances which gave the delegates time to prepare for the next scene. Included in the program were performances by local dance companies which showed the cultural diversity between countries. The dance styles were from Armenia, Iran, India, Japan and Korea. The delegates did a group dance which was coordinated extremely well. They donned shiny silver sequined mini dresses by sponsor & Designer Shail K. The announcer for the evening was DJ Jimmy Kim, he introduced a touching slideshow that gave farewells to the reigning Miss Asia USA, Miss Teen Asia USA, Mrs. Asia USA, Ms Asia International.
Next up was the swimsuit competition. The women wore swimsuits from Swimwear Designer and Judge Henry Fan.
Next on the program, evening gowns! Each gown was overflowing with gems and crystals, showing the delegates personal style and fashion. As they walked across the stage, the host gave narratives of each contestants biography. I was impressed at how much these women have accomplished in their lives. Having masters degrees from prestigious universities all while balancing family and children.
The Special awards were up next. Most Photogenic, Miss Congeniality and Best Evening Gown were some of them. One of the Highlights of the night, our very own Splash Magazine Columnist Anjeli Jana, who was this year’s Miss India, Won Miss Congeniality. She looked absoultely beautiful, wearing a rich red floor lenght gown.
The top 7 delegates were chosen next and the questions and answer segment began. Each woman answers deserved them a spot at the top. It came down to the final two Mrs. Luna Vaharshakian from Armenia and Mrs. April Denise Belcher from Philippines, and the winner was announced. The 2013 Mrs. Asia USA went to April Denise Belcher from the Philippines.
Next up Miss Asia USA. After the top 7 winners were chosen, they had the questions and answers portion as well. The judges did a great job picking the final Top 7. After 3 hours of an eye popping show, I was excited to see who the winner was going to be. The 6th runner up was called and shortly after, there were two. The final two were Miss Arlene Serna from Japan & Miss Areya Chanim Petchtone from Thailand.
Miss Asia USA 2013 was Miss Areya Chanim Petchtone from Thailand. Areya Chanim Petchtone gave her victory walk while confetti filled the air. The crowd went wild.
As we continued on to the after party people were in a joyous mood. The top 14 joined in on the fun, where they greeted there family and friends for a long awaited celebration. People dined on array of delicious foods, from sushi to mexican, kebobs and pasta! The cocktails were endless and I was happy to have witnessed something fantastic and magical that evening. I witnessed a cultural event were Asian American women are brought together to teach others strength, diversity and grace. Even thou the contestants were representing different countries, fighting for that title, I saw more unity than ever before! I realized then, that pageants are productive, and pageants do matter!
Photography by Donica Denene