miss hong kong

11 things being Miss Hong Kong taught me

June 26, 2021

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It’s recruitment season for Miss Hong Kong right now and my mind is being flooded with memories of my time as Miss Hong Kong: getting my application accepted, meeting the other contestants, laughing during rehearsals, the nerves I felt the night before semi-finals, and of course winning on the night of. It’s been 19 years, but I still get so many questions about my time as Miss Hong Kong. What did I take away from it? What did I regret? What did I enjoy about it? After running for Miss hong kong in 2002, I still get many questions about my experience – what did I take away from it, did I have any regrets, and what I enjoyed most. To be honest, it’s a lot to unpack, but all I can say is I feel like I’ve learned more in the 1 1/2 years of working in Hong Kong than I did in the 4 years of college I attended. It’s interesting but it’s true! The life experience I gained there was priceless. Today I’m going to share with you the 11 things being miss hong kong has taught me.

  1. A good work ethic
    1. The path to Miss Hong Kong was a pretty tough one. Long days, rehearsals, events, speaking engagements, etc. But after WINNING Miss Hong Kong, that’s when the real work began. At 21 years old, I had only some prior work experience at a shoe store in high school. Otherwise, I was completely shocked at what a complete 180 it was to work not only in the entertainment industry but particularly the entertainment industry in Hong Kong. I knew growing up that people in Hong Kong were all about the hustle. Earning top dollar there meant that you had to work 10x harder to survive. As Miss Hong Kong, I got a front seat to this experience. There was a single day where I woke up at 6 am, got my makeup done, went to a promotional event, went to a photo shoot for a product, and then would end up in the studio filming for a tv drama, where I didn’t get home until 3 am, go to sleep, and had to wake up and do it all over again. It was crazy and it was tough, but it gave me such a good work ethic. I learned to hustle hard from a very young age and the people of Hong Kong inspired me every single day because they did what they had to do to get. shit. done.
  2. Professionalism – like I said, working in Hong Kong is about hustling hard. Being professional is a key part of that. While I wasn’t always the most punctual person in the room prior to MHK, I did learn to become one as I started working. It’s because I know that everyone there is counting on you to do you be on time and put forth your best work. In Hong Kong, the biggest currency is time. Wasting time is just as bad as wasting money. You don’t ask your waiter what to get at a fish all noodle shop, you better walk in knowing what you want and you eat it fast. Ever since Miss Hong Kong, I’ve always given myself a 15 min buffer. I will always be 15 mins early just in case I run into traffic or can’t find parking. I also made it a point to always be prepared. If I showed up to film a drama and didn’t know my lines, I’d be wasting everyone’s time. Be ON TIME and don’t WASTE people’s time.
  3. Public speaking – Speaking of practice! Public speaking was a big skill I gained during Miss Hong Kong. While I was never intimidated at the thought of public speaking, I was definitely not as confident when it came to public speaking in Cantonese. I had immigrated to the US when I was 8 years old, so I could still read and spoke fluently, but speaking in front of thousands of people was another story. Oftentimes, I would practice in front of the mirror over and over again just so I wouldn’t studder and try to remember words afterwords.
  4. Confidence- Confidence is also key. If you’re not confident in front of the media, you’ll get eaten alive. While I’ve always thought of myself as a confident person, there were moments when I felt insecure. I mean, how can you not! You’re being evaluated for every single thing you do! In the end, though, I’ve resolved that I am who I am. As long as I’m doing my best, there’s nothing I can feel bad about.
  5. Be Yourself – Part of being confident also meant being myself. I knew that as Miss Hong Kong I had an image to uphold publicly. I wanted to represent Hong Kong and do my duty well to inspire others. Truth be told, I am a real person like everyone else. I cuss, I make vulgar jokes, and I’m more improper than proper. In fact, I think part of the reason my dad suggested I do the pageant was for me to be more ladylike 😂 Behind the scenes though, I think that’s why I was able to become friends with the other contestants. I never took myself too seriously. We’d goof around, help each other with the dances and just talk like we’re friends, not competitors. It was a real bonding experience!
  6. Developing lasting relationships and networking. From day 1, I’ve always said that maintained that it’s crucial to treat people with respect. Aside from forming relationships with the other contestants, I’ve always found myself connecting to many other friends working in the industry (makeup artists, directors, producers, actors, news reporters). To this day, I still maintain relationships with these friends. I often visit them when I visit Hong Kong, and one of them was even my bridesmaid!
  7. Independence – As I said earlier, I had joined the pageant when I was in the middle of college, so I had only a little taste of being on my own. But there was a huge difference between living in the suburbs and going to college and living in a fast-paced city on your own. I had to grow up quickly. Luckily, being Miss Hong Kong gave me access to my own apartment and car. It was super convenient for me to get around, but often, I did find it kind of lonely. It gave me that much more of a push to want to come home to my mom and sisters.
  8. Learned more about my culture and my roots – This experience was priceless. Having immigrated at a young age and only visiting a few times during the summer, I often forgot about what being in Hong Kong was like. Through my experience, my Cantonese not only got better, but I was able to experience everything being a true Hong Kong resident had to encompass. It taught me so much about life in general and it made me feel closer to what my dad and mom’s life in Hong Kong.
  9. Empowering others – True woman empowerment. When you’re in a beauty pageant, it’s normal for you to feel insecure. Oftentimes I compared myself to others, how I looked, my body looked, etc. But in the end, I thought to myself, that does more harm than good. Everyone is doing their best on their own terms and the best you can do is do the same. In the end, I realized that all we can do is help each other, and whatever happens, happens!
  10. Don’t be afraid – I hate to say it. But putting on a bikini and walking on stage in high heels in front of thousands if not millions of people is probably one of the scariest things anyone can do. I knew what I signed up for when I applied. I knew everything that came with it, but I was just like whatever! I set my mind to it and I did it. Step by step. There were so many new things that I did. Speaking on stage. Walking in heels. Acting for the first time. But I had developed a mindset that you can do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t overthink and just do it! If I second-guessed every decision I would have never become Miss Hong Kong, one of the greatest experiences of my life. So just live in the moment. Follow your passion! Because you only have one life.
  11. Don’t give a f*ck. Like I said, I’m not the most proper person in real life. But life is what you make of it. Be confident in yourself and don’t let what people think about you dictate how you should live your life.





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