PAGEANT Talks Presents:
Miss Pennsylvania United States 2017 Jasmine Ma
Introduction: Jasmine Ma is a 21 year old native of Arcadia, California who now resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A junior at Temple University she is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology to become a child and family therapist.She enjoys cuddling with her cat Totoro, dancing, traveling around the world, snowboarding, and baking family recipes passed on by her grandmother. Jasmine is most proud of becoming a published poet at the age of thirteen. Her school and community activities include being a member of Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity, and the National Association of Asian American Professionals Philadelphia Chapter (NAAAP Philadelphia).
How did you get involved in pageants?
I competed in my first pageant six years ago. It was the summer leading up to my sophomore year of high school, and I saw an advertisement at my hair salon where they just so happened to be a sponsor. Growing up, I always loved being on stage; whether its dancing or acting, I had a gut feeling that pageants were going to play such a big role in my life. I just had no idea it would be this big!
Why did you decide to compete for the title of Miss Pennsylvania United States?
I want to evoke inspiration and not intimidation which is something the Miss United States pageant stands for. Growing up, I had a difficult time finding a role model because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t identify with anybody in the media that looked like me. Now that I’m much older, I want to be the role model that I never really had. I want to continue to pursue my dream and hopefully I can inspire and encourage others to pursue their dreams and passions.
When you heard your name called and put on that sash what emotions or thoughts were going through your head?
My heart was beating so fast, and I was overcome with joy. I stared to become overwhelmed with my emotions because this was finally my moment. The six years of dedication, determination, hard work, occasional disappointments, and the push to always strive to be my best self had finally paid off. I was finally able to achieve a life long dream.
What was the first thing you did after the pageant?
After all the photos, and cleaning up my things in the dressing room, and saying my good byes to my new sister queens; I went to go eat a victory dinner with my boyfriend and treated myself to a plate of pasta and side of garlic bread as well as onion rings (don’t worry, we shared those onion rings)
What are you looking forward to during your reign?
Of course a highlight of my reign is heading to Orlando to compete at Miss United States, but I am also looking forward to being a role model to young girls and boys, and continue to empower other women with my journey all throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as well as further working with my platform!
Tell us about your platform?
Autism Speaks is my platform, and is the national philanthropy of my sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. I was fortunate enough not to have anybody in my immediate family on the autism spectrum, but after attending my first Autism Speaks Walk back in 2015 and seeing how much love was at the event for individuals on the spectrum as well as the outreach and resources available to their families, I knew I wanted to do more for them in the future. Since 2009, Alpha Xi Delta has raised over 5 million dollars and counting for Autism Speaks, and those funds have gone to things such as resources and support for those families since autism can cost a family $60,000 a year on average. As Miss Pennsylvania United States 2017, I want to further raise awareness and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder because autism speaks and its time to listen.
I love traveling and exploring new cities across the country. If I were to visit your hometown where would you take me?
My hometown is a small little city approximately 13 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles called Arcadia. I’d take you to visit the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. It sits on a remaining portion of Rancho Santa Anita, which was one of the Mexican land grants of Southern California. I remember visiting the Arboretum for field trips in elementary school, and I even got to tour the Queen Anne Cottage. As a child I always loved the historical buildings inside, especially the Santa Fe Railway depot that I always drove by on Baldwin Ave. As I got older, I began to really appreciate and admire the beauty within the Arboretum. The plants are grouped by geography and there are gardens stretching from all seasons to native oaks and even prehistoric and jurassic. The most unique thing about the Arboretum are the peafowl that roam the land. They were brought over from India by Lucky Baldwin back in 1879, and since then they are not only a symbol of the city of Arcadia, but they around the Arboretum and its surrounding neighborhoods they run free. In the city, peacocks have the right-of-way above both pedestrians and cars. In the spring you can see all the baby peafowl waddling behind their mothers, and at time I have even caught them sunbathing on the roof of my house.
What are you looking forward to the most at Miss United States?
Being able to meet all the other amazing girls and women representing their state or US territory, while also bonding with my sister queens at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m also so excited, humbled, and honored to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as their 2017 Miss Pennsylvania United States.
What advice would you give to someone who was going to compete in their very first pageant?
A journey of a thousand steps begins with a single one. You are about to embark of a life changing journey where you will meet the most inspiring and strong women and girls in your life. This is a community full of love and support, and I can guarantee you that your fan section will never be silent. No matter what happens in your first pageant you will always come out a different person. You will have grown and matured in way you would never have though of, even in the span of a weekend. At the end of the day, always be yourself and no matter what have fun!!
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are my parents. As the child of immigrants, I always heard stories about what it was like growing up in Taiwan, and how fortunate I am to grow up in the states. I never took that to heart until I got older and realized how much my parents have given up just to make sure I had the best opportunities at life. My mother, Sarah is the most compassionate person you will ever meet. She would be the mother that stayed up late sewing a costume for dance, or hemming my dresses or pants because I’m so short. She cooks from the heart, and makes sure the fridge and pantry are stocked with my favorite foods when I’m home. My father, Arnold is the most selfless person you will ever meet. Despite having his own busy schedule, he will drop anything and everything the moment I ask for his help from driving me somewhere to fixing the wifi when the internet goes down. He’s the #1 pageant/dance dad and makes sure he will never miss a show or moment. Because of him, he documented every day of my first 1,000 days through journal entries, photographs and home videos. I want to take a quick moment and say thank you mama and baba. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I would not be the woman that I am today if it was not for your selfless love and compassion. I love you!
What should every woman try at least once in her life?
Visit a foreign country! Whether its with your girl friends, significant other, or family, take the opportunity to learn about the different cultures and traditions around the world. Let’s not forget eating all the food too! You can learn a lot about a culture through their food.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel, you can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving, you will come to a better place.” It reminds me that even when I’m going through a struggle in life—no matter how big or small—if I continue to persevere it will get better.
What’s your one biggest pet peeve?
Being late! Growing up, it was instilled in be to always be punctual. My high school orchestra conductor, Mr. Forbes once told us, “If you’re a on time, you’re late!” and that phrase has never left me since.
Describe yourself in two words?
Benevolent and animated.
What makes you laugh?
My kitten, Totoro! I love seeing what position he’s sleeping in or what face he makes since most of the time I catch him sleeping on his back and because his tummy is white he looks like a giant fluffy cloud. Because he’s only 10 months old he sometimes still has the tendency to get into trouble. One time, I left a bowl of wontons on the counter and I turned my back to grab a pair of chopsticks from the drawer; before I knew it, I looked back over and I see him with one of my wontons in his mouth making a run for it. He has a face you can’t stay mad at but I now know never to leave my food out of sight, even for a quick second.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
A good pair of black leggings will take a woman far in life! I own 7 pairs of the same leggings and I wear them almost every day from October-April. Its my favorite item of clothing because you can easily dress it up or down depending on the occasion! I can wear the same pair of leggings to class but change my shirt and shoes and look ready for a night out.
What is one item you can’t live without?
In this day and age, I have to be completely honest and say my phone. It has my entire life on it from my schedule, to assignments I have to do for my classes, all of my contacts, and all my memories with each photograph and video. Its pretty much the portable version of my laptop!
Follow Jasmine on Social Media!
Instagram – @_Jasminema & @MissPaUS2017
Twitter – @MissPaUS2017
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MissPennsylvaniaUS/