CHINATOWN — The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce is looking for more contestants for its annual 2013 Miss Friendship Ambassador Pageant, including maybe a few models seasoned at strutting their stuff.
"Some of them are experienced with modeling work. But right now I have a whole bunch here that have never been on a catwalk," chamber director Yin Kean said.
The biennial event, one of the chamber's biggest fundraisers, takes place Nov. 3 at the International Ballroom of the Hilton Chicago hotel, 720 S. Michigan Ave. There will be prizes in several categories: first, second and third, plus Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic.
The Audience Choice award, where the crowd can help select a winner, is new this year.
"I don't just mean people in the audience, I mean like the whole world," Kean said, adding that she plans to set up a special voting website and social media component.
The first-place winner will be crowned "Miss Friendship Ambassador" and will represent Illinois and the City of Chicago at the 2014 Miss Chinese International Pageant in Hong Kong. One of the pageant's previous contestant's, Kelly Cheung, claimed the 2012 Miss Chinese International prize.
Scholarships also will be awarded to certain winners, organizers said.
Contestants vying for the crown must be:
• An unmarried woman of at least 25 percent Chinese heritage
• A resident of Illinois
• At least 17 years old by Oct. 1 and no more than 25 years old by Feb. 15
• Ready for travel to and from Hong Kong with passports and other travel documents
• Available during pageant rehearsals and other training sessions
A rigorous weekend rehearsal schedule begins Sept. 7 and lasts through Nov. 2.
In addition to drawing more contestants, Kean is hoping to draw local businesses to buy space in an ad book that will be distributed to the audience. Raffle prizes are planned, too.
Tickets for the event cost $125 and are available by visiting this website.