Tracy So remembers watching the Miss Chinese Vancouver Pageant as a little girl at home in Esquimalt.
Fairchild was a fledgling Chinese language TV station and the So family, who operated Bill’s Restaurant in Colwood, watched regularly.
Tracy and the network are both 20 now and find themselves matched up again, this time with So as a Top-10 finalist for the competition, which wraps up with a gala event Dec. 12 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
“In the Asian community, it’s a really big honour to be in it,” she says. “We would joke about (someday being in the pageant) because we would see it on TV. But this was something I wanted to do, not something my parents would pressure me about.”
Even people in Victoria’s Chinese community are talking about it, she says, noting that the pageant has been written up in Cantonese-language newspapers that get delivered to Chinatown.
The pageant, which sees young women apply for one of the 10 positions, is run by Fairchild as a promotional event for the City of Vancouver and its Asian community. Some past winners have gone on to do film work in Hong Kong, which is considered the Hollywood of China.
Tracy’s older sister, Carmen, says Tracy is unique in the competition in that she speaks fluent English and Cantonese and is one of just two finalists born in Canada.
“That could be a big advantage for her (in film), because she could easily switch between the two languages,” Carmen says.
Tracy worked two jobs back home in the summer to earn enough to move to Vancouver in September and start a new life. She got a job with Shaw and plans to start school in the new year, but left her job when she was chosen from a field of 100 applicants as a finalist.
“They keep us pretty busy,” she says of the schedule for the 10 women, who have done photo shoots, TV commercials, appeared at charity events and been involved in other community activities around Vancouver.
The gala and final competition includes the typical public speaking, Q & A and glamour aspects, but also the return of a talent competition.
“I’m really nervous. There’s definitely a lot of things going on and a lot of stage training,” she says.
So, who performed and practised various forms of dance through her high school years, will do a hip-hop routine. She is also catching up on world news and events, to prepare for the judges’ interview that happens Tuesday.
Regardless of the result, she hopes good things come from her experience. Her goal is to work in public relations and marketing and to that end, she has already been given a good word about a possible internship with Fairchild.
The pageant airs live in Cantonese on Thursday, Dec. 12 starting at 7:55 p.m. on Fairchild TV (Shaw channel 517 if you have the multicultural package) or at fairchildtv.com.