Eriko Lee Katayama from Korea Crowned Miss Asia USA & Aakshi Sharma Walia from India Crowned Mrs. Asia USA 2014

Photo credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.
Photo credit to: Christine Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

Also Chachaa Tiptara from Cambodia Won Mrs. Asia USA California and Nicolene Limsnukan from Thailand Won Miss Teen Asia USA.

Eriko Lee Katayama Wins Miss Asia USA 2014 plus 4 Special Awards: People’s Choice, Best in Swimsuit,

Best in Evening Gown and Miss Popularity.

On Saturday, November 22, 2014 Virgelia Productions Inc presented their 26th Annual Miss Asia USA and the 10th Annual Mrs. Asia USA Cultural Pageants held at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center at 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd in Redondo Beach, CA 90278 from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am.

What do international sporting events like soccer and beauty competitions have in common?  Well, for the Miss Asia USA and Mrs. Asia USA 2014 Beauty Pageants, it was clearly the fans!  While geographically held in Redondo Beach, California at the beautiful Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, it felt more like the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland had come to life and all the dolls were alive and singing and swirling and dancing.  And that’s just a taste of the front lobby where the step and repeats were a flurry of costumes and past winners, and the fans of represented countries rushed to take a picture with unparalleled beauty.  As it got closer to stage time, the crowd was so engaged with all that was displayed they didn’t hear the notice to ask them to go to their seats.  So enthralling and engaging was the action at the lobby, it took several such announcements for the throngs of fans to step into the theater.

Photo credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.
Photo credit to: Christine Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

Once the curtain came up, it was clear the performances in the lobby were just a sample of what was to come.  First, hair-stylists representing their countries such as Palestine were on stage with the presenting sponsor for the pageant, Moe Ha Jarrah of Moe Hair USA, Gold hair products.  With hairspray in hand, they stood on stage with some of the girls to fluff and tease their long locks.  Next up were the amazing national cultural costumes including musical and dance presentations from various countries.  As all of the activity was unfolding on stage, the crowd was building up their anticipation and excitement as the delegates from Asia were announced and took to the stage.  The costumes worn by each woman to show the dress of their countries were gorgeous.  The stage lights caught the jewels and gold and reflected back onto the faces of their countrymen.  Hands were waving their country’s flags and shouts and cheers encouraged their delegates.  The stage was alive with color, sounds, beauty, and the seats in the theater were alive with those who wanted their country’s delegate to be represented as the Miss and Mrs. Asia, USA.

Photo credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.
Photo credit to: Christine Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

This year a surprise un-scripted presentation of awards from the City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were handed out on behalf of the Mayor by Jarvee Elton Hutcherson (President of the Multicultural Motion Picture Association (MMPA), President and Founder of The American Society of Young Musicians (ASYM). Mr. Hutcherson handed Certificates of Appreciation to: Christine Kan, Tony Cabrera, AND Jacqueline Kim, Presenting sponsor Moe Hair USA, Media Partner Diversity News Magazine (accepted by our own Steven Escobar) and Virgelia Villegas from Virgelia Productions Inc and Beauty Pageant Producer received Congratulation Certificate.

Josephine Arciaga and Patrick Barcarse Performed The Prayer (Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli song) Opening song at the 26th Annual Miss Asia USA and the 10th Annual Mrs. Asia USA 2014.

As the evening progressed, the hosts, Tony Cabrera (CBS, FOX Morning News Anchor), Jacqueline Kim and Christine Kan (2012 Miss Asia, USA) announced the judges for the evening: Kimberly Vodang (Mrs. Asia, USA 2009), Georgina Jarrah (Public Relations), Ryan Doan (Director, American International University), Daisy Gomez (Miss Latina Global 2014), Huy Khiem (Photographer), Nicole Kim (Mrs. Asia, USA 2012), and Sueko Hashimoto (Costume designer).  As the judges sat At the front of the stage, it was evident this was no easy task for them.  Tony Cabrera even asked the crowd if they could make this very difficult choice.  In response, the crowd unleashed and screamed out the names of their country’s delegate.  It was game-on from that point forward with country flags waving high overhead.

After the introduction of the judges, the beauty of these young women seeking the Miss Asia USA title was displayed in evening wear, bathing suits, and a wonderful dance presentation performed by all the ladies together.  The sights flowed as the telling moments drew near.  The reigning Miss Asia USA, 2013, Areya Petchtone and Mrs. Asia USA, 2013, April Denise Belcher gave encouragement to the women, one of whom would soon be crowned as the new reigning queen!

Special award winners in various categories were announced and with each name read, the crowd’s frenzy intensified.

  • Delegate of the Year, Aakshi Sharma Walia, Miss India
  • Most Photogenic, Miss China, Lisa Shi
  • Miss Congeniality, Miss Thailand, Nicolene Limsnukan
  • Mrs. Congeniality, Mrs. Philippines, Elma Bidkorpeh
  • Miss Friendship, Nary Vin, Mrs. Cambodia
  • Miss Popularity, Erico Lee Katayama, Miss Korea
  • Excellence in Community Service, Cora Soriano, Mrs. Phillipines
  • Best Smile, Miss Ski Lanka, Natasha Wanigatunga
  • Best in Evening Gown, Miss Korea, Erico Lee Katayama
  • Best in Swimsuit, Miss Korea, Erico Lee Katayama
  • People’s Choice Award, Miss Korea, Erico Lee Katayama
  • Global Ambassador, Mrs. Philippines, Elma Bidkorpeh
Photo credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.
Photo credit to: Christine Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

It became apparent; Erico Lee Katayama was a special delegate, having received four of the 12 awards of recognition.

Finally, it came time to choose the top six finalists from all the wonderful delegates. The intense energy from the audience fit well with the anticipatory mood on stage.  As the names were read, the fanaticism intensified and looks of worry and hope were muddled across the delegates’ faces.

Top Six:

  • Van Pham, Miss Vietnam
  • Anna Voropaeva, Turkmenistan
  • Christy Jihyun Cho, Korea
  • Erico Lee Katayama, Korea
  • Akhila Kethireddy, India
  • Nicolene Limsnukan, Thailand

The question-answer session was nerve wracking as everyone on stage was nervous and wanted to make a perfect presentation.  As the top finalists each drew the fateful ticket with their judge’s name, the crowd was completely silenced, and they sat on the edges of their seats to not miss a single word of their delegate’s response.

Christy Jihyun Cho picked judge Huy Khiem, who asked her if she thought gender discrimination still exists in modern American society.  “I feel privileged as a female living in America to have gained the education studying at University of California, San Diego.  Although I still believe that there is gender discrimination, I believe every individual living in America or any other Country should be able to gain equal opportunity, equal pay, equal rights…equal political rights.  I say this because…in politics, there are not many confidant women in society, today.  We need more positive influences in society today, and I would love to be one of those positive influences in the future.”

Anna Voropaeva drew Judge Ryan Doan’s name.  He asked her what she thought were the biggest challenges Asian women face today.  She stated the biggest struggle was self-confidence, which she attributed to cultural norms. She elaborated that when Asian women come to America they may lack self-confidence.  She gave kudos to the women on the stage for their self-confidence and the positive example they set for other Asian women.

Next up, Van Pham, Vietnam drew Judge Kimberly Vodang, who asked what was her greatest challenge and how it influenced her.  Van drew in a deep brief and stated, “When I immigrated to America, I was a first generation student.  I supported myself financially through college. I graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in Economics.  Additionally, I received a full-ride to San Diego State University for my Masters in Economics.  I think my biggest accomplishment from my educational goals I self-supported myself through is that now I work for an insurance firm that is a Fortune 500 company.”

Erico Lee Katayama drew Judge Nicole Kim.  Before Nicole could even ask Erico a question, the crowd began chanting Erico’s name and applauding.  As the applause died down, Nicole was finally able to ask Erico what she thought of gay marriage. “Many states in America now legalize gay marriage.  And our proud State of California also legalized gay marriage.  As for me, gay or not gay, love is love.  If two individuals love each other and would like to be recognized by American law and would like to eventually start a family, they should have all their natural right to do so because love is a beautiful thing; it should be respected and appreciated.”

Judge Daisy Gomez asked delegate Akhila Kethireddy, India, what she thought was her greater motivation.  Akhila gave praise to her mother for everything she has and is today.  She gave a thank you to her parents who were in the crowd to support her.

Nicolene Limsnukan drew Judge Georgina Jarrah, who asked her what trait she possesses that distinguishes her from the other contestants.  Nicolene stated her kindness as her attribute that distinguishes her from others.  She feels kindness gives her opportunities that she has, and she is appreciative to her parents for instilling it in her.

Now for the Crowning Moments!

SEE THE LIST OF THE TOP WINNERS:

Mrs Asia, USA, California:  Chachaa Tiptara, Mrs. Cambodia

Mrs. Asia USA:

  • 4thrunner-up:  Lisa Shi, Mrs. China
  • 3rdRunner-up:  Hanna Raharjo, Mrs. Indonesia
  • 2ndRunner-up:  Shanna May, Mrs. Kazakhstan
  • 1stRunner-up:  Rima Sapien, Mrs. Iran
  • Mrs. Asia USA Winner, Aakshi Sharma Walia, Mrs. India

Miss Teen Asia USA:  Nicolene Limsnukan, Miss Thailand

Miss Asia USA:

As the envelope was slowly walked across the stage the crowd was out of their seats. Flags waved and fists pumped in the air.  It was as though the score was tied, and the winning goal was about to be kicked for the winning point. There was so much pride in their country and in their delegates

  • 4th Runner-up: Anna Voropaeva, Miss Turkmenistan
  • 3rdRunner-up:  Van Pham, Miss Vietnam
  • 2ndRunner-up:  Christy Jihyun Cho, Miss Korea
  • 1stRunner-up:  Akhilla Kethreddy, Miss India
  • Miss Asia USA Winner: Erico Lee Katayama, Miss Korea

THE PRIZES FOR THE WINNER:
Scholarship for a BA or MBA program
International Travels
Destinations to Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Dubai and more..
Full year supply of hair products
Shail K. evening wear will dress up the winner for her appearances
Cash prizes
Photo shoots and modeling assignments

Photo credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.
Photo credit to: Christine Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

International American University presented Erico Lee Katayama with a scholarship award. As the photos were taken and the look of uncertainty across the face of the reigning Miss Asia USA changed to complete jubilation, the festive mood moved out to the veranda for a private party.  Clearly, this was more than a beauty contest.  It was a show of graciousness, of teamwork, of perseverance, of the strength inherent in women of all nationalities.  And the fans!  This event was complete because of the fans and the pride they had for their delegates and countries.  Goosebumps, people…goosebumps!

The event executive producer and chairman is Virgelia Villegas, CEO and President of Virgelia Productions Inc. The 26th annual Miss Asia USA and the 10th Annual Mrs. Asia USA presenting sponsor was Moe Hair USA by Mr. Moe Jarrah who attended the event. The Platinum Sponsors were KPMG (Official Tabulator), Miss Asia USA, Malibu Design Group and Shail K.

About Virgelia Productions Inc.: Virgelia Productions, Inc., is a professional full-service event planner and producer of: Miss Asia USA, Mrs. Asia USA and Miss Teen Asia USA, Miss Latina Global and Miss Teen Latina Global. We are committed to delivering creative, high quality and memorable events that will continue to surpass expectations.  For more information visitwww.VirgeliaProductions.com & www.MissAsiausa.org

Missed this year’s event?  You can see pictures taken on http://snapped4u.com/galleries/4746, search under event Miss Asia USA, or photographer Christine Rogers.

Photos credit to: Christine Chris Rogers from http://chicksquad.net/ for Diversity News Magazine/World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations Inc.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations again to all the Miss Asia USA and Mrs. Asia USA Winners, including the delegates. Also congratulations and thank you to Virgelia Villegas from Virgelia Productions Inc and her entire staff for producing an amazing and excellent event! Thank you to World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations for obtaining the certificate awards and letter read to the guests from Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Thank you to the staff at the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Thank you to Alex Leon, Linda England and Daniele Pereira from World Wide Vital Marketing & Public Relations for helping at the event. Also thank you to our team of Diversity News Magazine Sr. Photographer Francois Palais, Photojournalist Christine Rogers and our very own multi-award winning Steven Escobar, President of Diversity News Publications, Executive Director and Producer of Diversity News TV and President and Executive Editor-In-Chief from Diversity News Magazine.

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