Breaking Stereotypes: Beauty Pageants


Eric Hong

DBHS students, from left, Ashley Chen, Rebecca Wang, Alley Ornelas, and Chloe Lee (also at right), recently won titles in pageants, where they developed their poise and perfected their presentation skills in order to win.

Michelle Ki, Feature Editor

Most of the public dismisses beauty pageants as something of a joke. The pageant girls are often portrayed as ignorant and laughable. Diamond Bar High School’s four beauty pageant titleholders, seniors Chloe Lee, Alley Ornelas, and Rebecca Wang, along with juniors Kaitlyn Chao and Ashley Chen, share the obstacles and efforts that go into these pageants, and prove that it’s not just about looking pretty.

In October, senior Lee won her first pageant for Miss Teen Korea, which was held in Garden Suite Hotel in Los Angeles. She also won the Miss Congeniality portion of the pageant. Lee initially decided to compete to “boost her self-esteem” and “see where she was potential-wise.”

Having to maintain her weight, perfect her ability to walk in heels, and attending dance practice every other day, Lee stated that the hardest aspect was the preparation for the pageant itself.

During the pageant, Lee had a few interviews, which consisted of questions regarding the U.S. government and the initial division of Korea.

“I was very nervous during the pageant because a lot of the girls competing were either very competitive or had great potential, yet at the same time, I was excited to show off my abilities and just have fun,” Lee said.
Lee plans on competing for the title of Miss Korea in 2016.

Also representing an Asian country through pageantry is senior Rebecca Wang, who won Miss Teen Taiwan International in 2013. She also competed in the Miss Diamond Bar pageant earlier this year, and became a Miss DB Princess.

Wang states that pageant girls are widely misinterpreted for being unintelligent. While in actuality, judges base most of their criteria on confidence, intellectual ability, and interviewing skills. She also works with numerous organizations to fundraise for homeless people. Wang initially decided to pursue pageantry to build her self-confidence.

“Previously, I was never comfortable with my own body. Joining a pageant allowed me to accept my flaws and enhance it through confidence and poise. Pageantry improved my communication skills and taught me how to be a leader,” Wang said.

Following in the footsteps of Rebecca Wang, junior Ashley Chen also won the title of Miss Teen Taiwan International in early 2015. The pageant was held at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.

Through her title, Chen has attended many local events in her community, along with a couple of international events, such as the Taiwan National Day Celebration Reception. She also aims to promote and increase awareness of Asian cultures to local communities.

Chen’s preparation included many hours of training on proper etiquette, how to speak in front of an audience, and how to present herself.

“Regardless of the stereotypes that pageant girls are catty and have fake personalities, the girls I competed with are my close friends and my personal support system,” Chen said.

A contestant in the recent Miss California Teen USA pageant, held in the Long Beach Terrace Theater, junior Kaitlyn Chao won the title of Miss San Bernardino County Teen in early 2015.

Another competitor in the state pageant was senior Alley Ornelas. She was crowned Miss Diamond Bar earlier this year. Pageant restrictions kept Chao and Ornelas from being quoted for the story.

Also, DBHS class of 2013 alumni, Nadia Mejia, won the Miss California USA Pageant on Dec. 5.