How The Rare Disease Of Her Mother Inspired Asia Cymone Smith To Raise Awareness Of Vitiligo

One per cent of the population suffers from vitiligo, the skin condition that causes patches of skin to lose their pigmentation. The main symptom of vitiligo is flat, white spots or patches on your skin. Initially, the vitiligo may start as a patch of skin that is paler than the rest.

Problems with confidence and self-esteem are common in people with vitiligo, particularly if the condition affects areas of frequently exposed skin.

In 2014 the disease was thrust into the spotlight by Winnie Harlow, a model who appeared on the 21st season of America’s Next Top Model and has since been featured in many fashion campaigns.

The beautiful Asia Cymone Smith, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss California Teen USA 2018, would like to raise awareness of vitiligo because her mom has the condition and lives each day in fear of judgement and rejection - "I would like to inform people of this autoimmune disorder and help promote research for a cure, while helping those with vitiligo realize that their outward appearance does not define their true character" - she explained.

Asia is not a stereotypical pageant girl. She is extremely athletic, and because of this she is very muscular - "I have had many instances where I felt defeated because I didn't fit the image that society places on pageant queens. I even attended a modeling event, and I was unable to fit some of the clothing because of my broad, muscular shoulders. Because of this, my self-esteem was lowered. However, I have learned to be very proud of my body. I hope to make a difference in the pageant industry, and be an example that beauty is not solely on the surface; true beauty comes from within."

I had the opportunity to interview Asia on her preparation for the upcoming Miss California Teen USA Contest. If she wins the crown she will have the opportunity to represent her state at Miss Teen USA 2018. The most successful Miss California Teen USA was Shauna Gambill, who won the Miss Teen USA crown in 1994. She later became the only Californian teen to cross over to the Miss California USA crown. Recently, Cassidy Wolf became the second Miss Teen USA from the state of California, when she won the Miss Teen USA 2013 pageant on August 10, 2013 in the Bahamas.

You will compete at the Miss California Teen USA Pageant, what unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition ?

A unique quality that I have is my drive for success. I was told by one of my former coaches that I could not become a successful athlete, and be the next Miss California Teen USA. As heartbroken as I was, I did not give up on these dreams of mine.

Today, I am a Division 1 track and field athlete at San Diego State University, competing in the Heptathlon. I have entered the Miss California Teen USA pageant to be a role model to others, and demonstrate that anything is possible as long as you work hard and never give up.

What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry ?

 Through pageantry, I hope to learn a lot about the News and Entertainment industry. I would someday like to become a Sports Broadcaster, and I believe that the relationships I form in pageantry will contribute to my exposure in this field.

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Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?

I am a freshman at San Diego State University, majoring in journalism and media studies. I am on a track and field scholarship as well. I will compete as a heptathlete this season, meaning that I do seven events. These include: long jump, high jump, shot put, javelin, the 100 meter hurdles, the 200 meter sprint, and the 800 meter race.

Aside from track, I enjoy Polynesian and Tahitian dance, learning about Pacific Island cultures. I have attended Pacific Islander Student Association meetings at my school. I was a competitive cheerleader for 12 years, and my team placed in the top 10 at The Cheeleading Worlds in 2016.

I am also a character performer at children's birthday parties. I perform as the Disney Junior cartoon character, Doc McStuffins, as well as my personal favorite, Princess Tiana. I am able to be a part of their lifelong memories, and I am grateful to have this impact on them. 

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What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

For a young girl who has the dream of becoming a queen, I would tell her that long ago, it was my dream as well. I would want her to know that dreams will only work if you do. I have worked very hard, and I know that my hard work will get me extremely far as I compete for Miss California Teen USA. If I were blessed enough to be able to hold this title, then I would be very proud to be a shining example to all girls with this dream.

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Thanks to the beautiful Asia for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss California Teen USA pageant.