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Miss Asia USA - Diane Yoo

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    Posted: November 24 2008 at 1:39pm

Diane Yoo knows the world isn’t kind to ditsy beauty queens.

Yoo, a 27-year-old Houston native who was recently crowned Miss Asia USA, hopes to change the stereotype that beauty and brains don’t go together.

“That’s one of the most common misconceptions,” says Yoo, who returned home recently for the Japan-America Society of Houston’s annual gala. “I’m passionate about fighting stereotypes. Beauty is not just skin deep, and I hope to prove that and let the world know that beauty comes in many shades.”

Wearing a fuchsia Marchesa gown and a sparkling crown at her parents’ home in Katy, Yoo said the title gives her the opportunity to educate more people about the pageant, which judges contestants on their cultural knowledge as well as their beauty, talent and intellect, she said.

“It’s important to know where you come from,” says Yoo, who was born to South Korean-immigrant parents. “You have to understand what a rich heritage we have because you’re representing more than 50 Asian countries.”

During the competition, Yoo won praise for a dramatic sea-blue gown hand-painted with Korean symbols including a tiger, a flying crane and a sunset. She also took the prize for her traditional Korean costume, which featured seven layers of silk and a hat made of rice paper.

As Miss Asia USA, she’s living at the pageant’s headquarters in Los Angeles and will travel internationally. (Her prizes included a wardrobe and a scholarship to a Los Angeles beauty school.)

Yoo says contestants who are serious about winning often hire a professionals to help groom them for competition. Yoo has relied on a team of motivational coaches, speech therapists, hair stylists, makeup artists, fitness trainers and fashion stylists.

She says she’ll use her reign to inspire young Asian girls. “There aren’t enough role models out there, so I’m hoping I can make a difference,” says Yoo.

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