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people watching ● competition clips M RS . V IETNAM W ORLD ASIAN PEARLS: Mrs. Vietnam World Nguyen Bao Ngoc (Center) surrounted by her royal court. M rs. Vietnam World is an official prelim- inary to the Mrs. World Beauty Pag- eant based in The Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas, Nevada. The contest- ants enjoyed an exciting helicopter tour of the Las Vegas city area during the pageant weekend, and the finalists made charitable contributions by serving meals for the home- less people at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. The bonding and unity of Vietnamese women from all over the world coming to- gether to celebrate their success, beauty, and culture is truly inspiring and captivating. Although this is the 2nd year Mrs. Viet- nam World was hosted in Las Vegas, the pageant system has been around since 1984. According to Kelly Trang Tran, the pageant director, the reason she chose to host the pageant in Las Vegas instead of Vietnam is because Las Vegas is the city of entertain- ment. By choosing such a popular and re- spected venue, Kelly is able to bring together married Vietnamese women not only from Vietnam, but from around the world, for one purpose: to empower each other and have a chance to represent Vietnam. Every year, the Mrs. Vietnam World organization also nominates one volunteer for the Presidential Service Award. This year, Mrs. Vietnam World nominated Cathy Minami, founder of the Ninth Is- land Aunties, who also fundraised a total $15,786 toward online votes and bowling fundraisers to help with local children in need. Their main focus is on providing local community service. The finalists competed in categories of National Costume, Swimsuit, and Evening Gown and also conducted pri- vate interviews with the judges. Performances included the Battle Born Dance Team from America’s Got Talent and famous comedian and winner of Last Comic Standing, Dat Phan. In order to qualify for this pageant as a contestant, you must be Vietnamese, at least 18 years old, and currently married. Special awards were presented to the following: Best Interview — Tran Thi Thu Hanh Best National Costume — Nguyen Bao Ngoc Best Swimsuit — Nguyen Bao Ngoc Best Evening Gown — Nguyen Bao Ngoc Photogenic — Bui Uyen Vy Mrs. Congeniality — Mah Linda People Choice — Tran Thao Christine Popularity — Tran Thao Christine Spirit Award — Tran Thi Thu Hanh Best Overall — Nguyen Bao Ngoc □ Mrs. Vietnam World Winners Mrs. Vietnam World 2017 ___ Nguyen Bao Ngoc from Vietnam Mrs. Vietnam World Ambassador Bui Uyen Vy from Washington 1st Runner Up__________________________ Tran Thi Thu Hanh from Washington 2nd Runner Up _________ Nguyen Thi My Hanh from Nebraska 3rd Runner Up _______ Mah Linda from Canada M ISS U.S. OF A MERICA P AGEANT CROWNING GLORY:Some of the winners of the Miss U.S. of America Pageant share the limelight. C outo Pageant Productions, Inc. has been producing quality pageants for the past 29 years and recently hosted the 19th Annual Miss U.S. of America Pag- eant. With a variety of divisions, partici- pants’ ages ranged from 1 to 60 years old, and they came from all across the country to compete for the prestigious titles of- fered at this national pageant. Each con- testant arrived at this event wearing their unique state or regional sash and crown. The three day event was jam packed with exciting functions. A welcome registration 90 PAGEANTRY took place, followed by a pool party. Ex- hilarating rehearsals, a social meet and greet, and a dinner party with an awesome DJ were some of the highlights of the schedule. Couto Pageants puts on an awesome extravaganza of activities during the contestant festivities, especially the very fun Scavenger hunt and the annual Mom Pageant! The contestants all had personal one-on-one interviews with the judges, followed by another intense rehearsal. After interviews and rehearsals were complete, it was time for the beloved Couto Pageants friendship circle tradi- tion. The contestants all hold hands in a circle while singing “Friends are Friends Forever.” The emotions were flowing as the contestants realized they had made some genuine friends during this pag- eant weekend. All that was left now was to compete onstage in evening wear, and then find out who would walk away with the crowns! Every contestant showed so much poise, grace, and elegance. The weekend culminated with the ex- citing pageant gala. Contestants modeled their beautiful gowns and participated in at least one optional competition of- fered. The four optional events consisted of Modeling, Talent, Outfit of Choice, and Photogenic. It was a night of excitement as 12 age division National Queens were crowned. This year’s High-Point Queen was from the Pre-Teen division. Alyscia Solano of Stratford, CT won a $2,500 cash award among other great prizes. These Queens are all superb examples of positive role models for our youth. □ Miss U.S. of America Baby Miss U.S. of America________ Lyla Grace Tiny Miss U.S. of America _____ Gabriella Durso Tot Miss U.S. of America _____ Savannah Clark Little Miss U.S. of America _ Logan Sekscenski Pre-Teen Miss U.S. of America __ Alyscia Solano Teen Miss U.S. of America __ Alexandria Palmer Junior Miss U.S. of America _____ Isabella Izzo Miss U.S. of America _____ Danielle Vankampen Ms U.S. of America ___________ Krystie Seese Mrs U.S. of America ____ Dayle Ashley Hoffman Classic Miss U.S. of America _ Debbie Manente