Fil-Am joins Miss Teen California, USA 2012-A A +A
Thursday, June 16, 2011
FOURTEEN-year-old Filipino-American Leah Taylor Ligan will be part of next year's Miss Teen California, USA.
Taylor, as she is fondly called by friends and family, was born in Glendale, California from both Filipino parents. Her father is a native of Davao, while her mother -- born from a Cebuano mother and American father -- was born in California.
Taylor describes her father as "very traditional and strict" but "such a hardworking man."
"I can see the difference with my friends' fathers who are not Filipino. They're more laidback and not very strict," she says.
However, Taylor admits that despite her father's tough rules, he remains fun and adventurous.
Like her dad, Taylor is an outgoing person. She enjoys playing basketball and volleyball. And like most Filipinos, she also has the love for music; she can play the piano and violin.
Despite being raised in a Western environment, Taylor never forgets her Filipino traits.
"I am very friendly. I am concerned of other people's well-being and I am very family-oriented. Like most Filipinos, I love to laugh and be with friends and family," she quips.
Taylor is representing the title of Children's Hospital Los Angeles to the pageant.
"When I was two days old, I was admitted at the Children's Hospital. I had a bowel obstruction of the small intestines that needed five surgeries. I stayed there for four mouths. My recovery is considered a miracle. My representation of Children's Hospital is my tribute to the doctors and nurses who saved my life. And for that, I will be eternally grateful," she shares.
Taylor, whose heart goes for the homeless, says, "I enjoy helping make their (homeless) lives a little bit better, even if it's just spending a few hours a day serving them a warm meal. I feel good that because of me, one less person isn't going hungry."
Taylor's mom, who saw her daughter's outgoing personality and attitude toward the unprivileged, drove Taylor to join the pageant. She sees the experience as exciting and an avenue for her to develop self-esteem, confidence, and make long-lasting friendships.
Although Taylor was honest in saying that being a Filipino is not necessarily an edge among other candidates, she is hopeful that her Filipino pride will get her through the pageant. And if she wins, she plans to continue her advocacies and share her experience with other girls who also dream of joining such competition.
The winner of Miss Teen California, USA 2012 will be representing the state of California to the Miss Teen USA 2012. The pageant is part of the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned by Donald Trump.
When asked of her message to the Filipinos, she says, "Dream big! There's a whole world out there for the taking. Anything is possible if you trust God. Don't be ashamed to be who you are."
She also says of her being Filipino, "I know no other culture other than what I am, so if given a choice to be anything other than a Filipino, I will choose to be who I am, which is a proud Filipino. I love my heritage!"
You may follow Taylor's activities by liking her Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/TaylorLigan). (Jhay-ar Book/Sunnex)