Miss California says key to success is to 'keep trying'
Updated: 2014-05-01 09:15
By Luo Wangshu and Tan Yingzi in Chongqing (China Daily)
Photo provided to China Daily
Lee said her success shows that people from all different backgrounds can perform well at the pageant. "It may remind people that Miss America is not always Caucasian or African American, but can be Chinese-American or Indian-American," she said.
The winner of the Miss American 2014 pageant, Nina Davuluri, is an Indian-American, and Lee fondly recalled the moment when she and Davuluri, both women of color, were the last two contestants on the stage.
Like many immigrant families, Lee attributes her success to her mother Wendy Lee, a Taiwanese "tiger mother".
"I have faith in my daughter's potential, and I encourage her to aim high," Wendy Lee said.
"In the United States, the competitions are intense and the girls are under pressure when they grow up. Our shoulders are always there for them to lean on.
"For Chinese-Americans to win pageants in the US mainstream society, they need to work three times as hard as the blond contestants."
As Miss California 2013, Lee's current job is to represent the American Pistachio Growers, and she travels across the world touting the benefits of California pistachios.
Judy Hirigoyen, director of the global marketing department of the America Pistachio Growers, spoke highly of Lee.
"We are very impressed by Crystal. She is a very good role model for young people," she said.
Lee enjoys the work and the travel that comes with it.
"I am interested in marketing and the skills of being an ambassador of pistachios will help me refine the necessary skills," she said, adding that the healthy and nutritious snack matches the image of Miss California.
Lee plans to start her own business in technology when her duties as Miss California end in June.