NAM:How did competing in National American Miss prepare you for Miss Nebraska USA, and now Miss USA?
Hoang-Kim:I believe pageants are a great place for young women to gain valuable life skills, including being an eloquent public speaker, expressing your opinions when chatting with others and learning how to carry yourself well. National American Miss definitely created a solid foundation for me when I decided I wanted to compete in the Miss USA system.
NAM:What advice would you give a girl contemplating participating in NAM for the first time?
Hoang-Kim: JUST DO IT! Fortune favors the bold and you never know what you could stand to gain from competing in NAM. Ten years ago, my Mom encouraged me to compete because she wanted me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. Little did my family know how much that decision would change my life and transform me into a bold, confident young woman with plenty of ambitions.
NAM: How do you see your life 10 years from now?
Hoang-Kim: I will be even closer to achieving my dream of being a morning anchor for a national news network. I’m already taking those steps now as a reporter and fill-in anchor for NBC Nebraska. I’m very passionate about my fashion and lifestyle and would love to see it prosper and help other young women when making choices when it comes to fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
NAM:What was your favorite part about representing NAM?
Hoang-Kim: Being the National American Miss in 2012 and 2013 gave me incredible memories to cherish. If I had to pick a favorite part it would have to be the girls, whether that meant becoming true sisters with my sister queens or seeing a girl’s face light up after they got to chat with me or take a quick photo. Being able to serve as a role model, who showed hard work and a little bit of grit will take you far, was priceless..
NAM:What are you most excited about when you think about representing Nebraska at Miss USA?
Hoang-Kim: Last year I remember sitting on my couch watching Miss USA, never thinking just one year later, I’d be packing and going myself! Miss USA is the epitome of pageants so just being able to have the opportunity to step on that stage and having Nebraska on my chest is just incredible. I think it will really hit me in introductions when I’ll say into a microphone to the world, “Hoang-Kim Cung, Nebraska!”
NAM:What is your ultimate goal as a titleholder? What do you hope to accomplish?
Hoang-Kim: I’ve always aspired to inspire others whether it’s through my actions or words and I truly believe Miss USA can do it all. I worked crazy-long hours as a reporter, I still kept up with my fashion and lifestyle blog, reading all the books I could, while finding time to call my parents almost every night. Throughout my reign, if I can empower others to see their value and strengths and not sacrifice any of their passions, I would feel more than accomplished.
NAM: For someone who is just starting out in pageants, How do you recommend they practice public speaking skills?
Hoang-Kim: It starts with the individual and their comfort level! I practied in front of my bedroom mirror for quite a while, then I advanced to my family, then friends and soon enough, there I was ontage saying my personal introduction. You just have to be willing to take risks and get out of your comfort zone.
NAM: What have you learned from competing in pageants?
Hoang-Kim: I started pageants so I could overcome my shyness and become a better public speaker, but when I reflect on my journey, I have gained so much more. Through pageants I have connected with some of the most incredible young women who upon meeting and chatting, I feel like I’ve known since birth. I’ve realized raw talent doesn’t get you far, it’s hard work and grit. Pageants have really helped transform me into the bold and perservant woman I am today.
NAM:We love reading your fashion blog , colorandchic.com, Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Hoang-Kim:My style is classic and feminine, so I am easily inspired, whether it’s from all the flowers at the farmer’s market, a pillow with interesting color combinations at a home décor store, or even just walking around the street. Of course, I do love checking out other blogs to get ideas too, but I always make them my own with some tweaks.
NAM: How do you pick out the perfect pageant dress for you?
Hoang-Kim: I like to start with a silhouette flattering to my body and from there I go by feeling. There have been a lot of times I’ve walked into a store with an idea of what I’d like and fall in love with something else. You have to trust your gut and choose the dress making you feel like a winner! Don’t get too preoccupied with styles and trends or if someone else might have it. Just do you!
NAM: A big part of being a titleholder is volunteering and getting involved in your community. What are some ways girls can start volunteering in their home towns?
Hoang-Kim: Service is a big part of my reign and I do a lot of volunteering. There are so many different organizations out there, so girls should first decide what they’re passionate about. Do they love food, animals, or public speaking? Food banks, animal shelters or speaking to younger peers are great places to start for those. If a girl or her family has been affected by an illness or a disease seek out those organizations. I truly believe there are many different organizations who need our help and there’s a right fit for each person!
NAM:What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered as a titleholder?
Hoang-Kim:There are countless qualities that make a great titleholder including being kind, being outgoing, having a great attitude and so much more. For me, I want to be able to impact other people’s lives positively by empowering them. Every person has strengths and a skill set unique to them. If I can encourage others to know their value and how that can increae their confidence and down the line change their life, that would be the legacy I’d want to leave.