CHINATOWN — For the first time in its three-decade history, the Miss Friendship Ambassador Pageant is allowing online voting to help crown the city’s most beautiful Asian-American Chicagoans.
The pageant's new “Audience Choice” category will round up votes garnered online for the annual beauty contest, which doubles as a fundraising gala for the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
The event is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Hilton Hotel Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
That’s where 10 contestants will strut their stuff in front of a panel of five judges, including representatives from the fashion and publishing industries. Throughout the night, the women will don swimsuits, evening gowns and traditional Chinese dresses called Qi Pao.
They’ll be competing for the titles of Miss Friendship, Miss Photogenic, Audience Choice and the overall winner of the pageant, dubbed Miss Friendship Ambassador, who will represent 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.
During the Qi Pao portion of the pageant, the women will be accompanied by a live performance of electric violin music from Celine Thum. An African group called The Ben will also perform throughout the night.
New this year is the Audience Choice Award, open for voting by fans of the chamber’s Facebook page. Those votes will be tallied along with ballots from the audience to designate the winner.
But there will be an important distinction — the online votes will count for one point while the in-person votes will be counted as 10 points.
“We’re encouraging people to attend,” said chamber director Yin Kean.
Online voting will be open through midnight Nov. 2 — it’s one vote per person each day.
Tickets for the event cost $125 each and can be bought at this website.