Capitol Hill resident Anchyi Wei made history earlier this month when she took home the Mrs. DC America sash and became the first Chinese American woman to win the title in 19 years.
Wei was grateful to win the title, but being the first Chinese American in 19 years makes her victory “extra meaningful,” she told NextShark. “Especially during these current times when so much violence against AAPI has surfaced, I felt that it was my duty to bring representation and awareness to our community.”
The event was held without an audience and streamed online due to the COVID-19
Other beauty pageant winners include Ebony Acton for Miss DC for America Strong 2021 and Cheryl Burghart for Mrs. DC American 2021.
“The judges chose women who exemplify class, style, and grace, and who will proudly represent D.C. Our team is very happy for them,” Raquel Riley Thomas, owner of AOAGWLLC, said.
The winners will represent D.C. and compete at national pageants in November.
The first Chinese/Japanese American to win the title was Chiann Fan Gibson in 2002
. Born in Japan to Taiwanese parents, Gibson and her family immigrated to the U.S. and became naturalized citizens in 1986, as said in her biography
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Who is Anchyi Wei:
Speaking to NBC Washington
, Wei said she struggled to fit in when they moved to the U.S. from Taiwan at 9 years old. Some people would call her “Miss Ugly,” she recalled.
“Not knowing any English, looking different from my peers, eating different food at home made me feel insecure,” Wei told NextShark.
Wei, who is originally a civil engineer, has been living in Washington D.C. for over 10 years, her biography
for Mrs. DC America reads. She now has careers in architecture, fashion, photography and digital media.
Others convinced her to join beauty pageants even though she never saw herself as a beauty pageant person.
“It was during that time where there was so much AAPI crimes that were happening, and I was very upset,” Wei said. “I wanted to make a statement that us as Asians, we are also part of this community.”
She hopes to use her platform to bring awareness to environmental concerns including sustainability in the fashion industry.
Beauty queen’s message: Wei said the younger generation doesn’t need to conform to the path chosen for them by other people.
“Get good grades, lay low, have a high-income career, live in a nice big house in the suburbs. I want to tell the younger generation that you don’t have to do any of that,” she said. “The most important thing you can do for yourself is to be you. Don’t try to fit in with your friends or live to impress others. We are all individuals and unique in our own way — let it shine.”
Wei encourages everyone to combine their voices to fight the violence against AAPI communities.
She also hopes to make more appearances to bring awareness to the Asian American culture and diversity and to educate children about the history of Asian Americans in the U.S.
“The more we see these elements as part of our lives in a diverse community, the less they seem ‘foreign,’” she added. “In the meantime, I will continue to use my platforms to generate support and resources to help the AAPI community. As an artist, I communicate best via visualizations – and plan on contributing digital content on my social media platforms to bridge the gap between races and culture.”
Featured Image via Alex Hernandez