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ASHLEY PARKBy Alexis Nichols Photography by Shana Lemos Haeng Nam and Kin Vong 7 What inspired you to get involved with pageantry Initially I was approached by a former Mrs. Asia USA titleholder. She thought I would be a potentially good fit for the Miss Asia USA competition. But I had never considered pageantry so I was hesitant from the very beginning. However after speaking with the pageant director Virgelia Villegas of Virgelia Productions I decided to accept the honor. I was given the title of Miss Korea USA 2015 and had the privilege of representing Korea throughout the past year and at the 2015 Miss Asia USA pageant. Was this your first pageant or have you been doing this for some time Miss Asia USA was my first pageant experience. This was also my first time to train for a performance on a big stage so I had a lot to learn. As an actress I am used to the camera but the stage is an entirely new ball game. The attention to detail required in a pageant is truly indescribable. Luckily the coaches and sta at Virgelia Productions were very instrumental in helping us all prepare properly for the night of the competition. Might you have any advice for girls aspiring to do pageants As delegates for Miss Asia USA we went through a rigorous weekly training program to prepare for the competition. It was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Virgelia Productions is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Miss Asia USA and Miss Latina Global pageants this November and I can honestly say that they put on unbelievably beautiful shows. My advice would be to train harder than you think you need to. If you put in the work youll be ready for anything that is thrown at you when you step onto the stage. How did you prepare to earn the title of Miss Korea USA 2015 I worked with wonderful coaches and I practiced a lot on my own. I had never been on a big stage before so I knew I had to be ready for anything. And I was I felt so comfortable on stage. In elementary school my dad made me memorize a quote that I believe sums it all up The one way to the top is by persistent intelligent hard work. When they announced you as the winner for Miss Asia USA what was the first thing that went through your mind It was surreal. I think my face in all the photos taken at the pageant probably sums up my feelings at that moment I was in complete shock which was eventually overtaken with some hybrid of shock and joy. Pageants have been in the forefront of the news recently with Steve Harvey crowning the wrong contestant for the Miss Universe pageant. What are your thoughts on that And how would you have handled it had you found yourself in a similar situation Its very dicult to say how I would have handled it. Its easy to speculate and say what I would have done in any given situation but I honestly dont know. It was very unfortunate for everyone involved and I felt for both contestants. We are all human and mistakes are made. As an actress I am incredibly used to handling disappointment so Id like to think I would have handled it with a positive disposition. ..D2015