Beauty exists all around us, but it’s those who see the beauty in their dreams that can truly conquer the future. This is very much true for Tempe Prep Senior Joya Ma who received the honor of a lifetime for her beauty both within and without.
It all started the day a recruiter, a friend of Joya’s aunt, began searching for girls interested in becoming candidates for the 2018 Miss Phoenix Chinese Pageant. Of course, Joya’s aunt found this to be a one-of-a-kind opportunity, and excitedly approached Joya about the news. Although excited, Joya hesitated, wondering if the competition was even worth it; after all she figured there is “so much to do with college applications and the senior thesis paper.” Luckily, her family was completely supportive and convinced her not to give up.
The judging began long before the actual day of the pageant. First, the candidates were interviewed. About 30 percent of the judging process was solely in answering questions about both their present and future plans, where showing multiple sides of yourself was important in increasing your chance of winning.
In addition, the candidates were asked to randomly pick a question from the basket and answer it on stage for another 10 percent of the process. “The questions range from ‘What’s the philosophy or value that you hold dearest in your life?’ to ‘What would you do if you had a million dollars?’” in which every candidate was asked something different. The remaining 60 percent of the judging process was left in each candidate’s talent show, runway walk, and performance.
Since Joya has her dream set on being a well-known fashion designer, for her talent show she was able to drape an entire evening gown on stage in an impressive two-and-ahalf minutes. Despite what many may think, Joya claims that “I was not as nervous as I expected, but actually was enjoying the moment on stage and having fun.”
Sure enough, on January 20 Joya was crowned queen of the 2018 Miss Phoenix Chinese Pageant and rewarded with $1,500. However, “I think the amount of money is not as important,” Joya says. “This unique experience and what I learned from it is the most valuable part.”
To those who also share Joya’s dream in pursuing fashion as a career, Joya says, “being confident is the most important thing. Everybody has their own beauty and uniqueness. Keep your uniqueness because that’s what makes you different from others.”
Like I said before and like Joya says now, beauty exists all around us; it’s finding the beauty within ourselves that truly matters for our futures ahead.
Article by Jasmyn Genchev, a senior editor and student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.