The first ever Ignite Model Competition was hosted on Sunday at the Frost School of Music’s Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, offering the Miami community the chance to explore Chinese cultural clothing with models using the stage as their platform.
Clothed in gorgeous Chinese qipao, a traditional Chinese dress, and bathing suits, 22 striking models from the University of Miami, Florida International University and Miami Dade College showed off various clothing in front of an audience of 500.
Hailing from different nationalities, each model showcased themselves to the audience with contagious smiles.
Cheers were loud. It was important for each model to secure support, as the rewards were worth their time.
UM’s own Carmen Wilson was voted top model and received a photoshoot contract with the event’s main sponsors, Verbena Vision Photography, an Apple watch and a ticket to Orlando Universal Studios.
“I feel overwhelmed with excitement,” Wilson, a media management major, said. “I had absolutely no idea I would win, and I did not expect it at all.”
Living in different parts of Asia for 14 years, Wilson loves Chinese culture and was ecstatic to be given the chance to be part of the event.
The competition had fans voting for the models through two mediums. In the days leading up to the event, fans voted for the models using social media. Once the models presented themselves on stage, the audience placed live votes in a ballot box.
Yanliang Hu, Miss Universe China 2014, flew from China to Miami on Friday to help prepare the models and see the event.
The Beijing-born model was delighted to see her culture being fused with her hobby of pageantry in the United States and was heavily involved in helping the models shine for their moment on stage.
“Every girl can grow up from this journey,” Hu said. “I use to join a lot of pageants and I always become much better from each one. They can learn from every event and it will help them in the future.”
Bolstered by electrifying performances from that included UM student Zi Han’s rendition of “Sugar” by Maroon 5, the audience was kept thoroughly entertained the entire night.
Collectively planned by the Chinese School and Scholar Associations (CSSA) of the University of Miami and Florida International University and Verbena Vision Photography, the event had been planned since May.
“We hope this could be an annual event,” President of UM’s CSSA Joy Zhuoying Lin said. “This year we showcase the Chinese culture, hopefully in the next years we will be more diverse and show other cultures. Our university is diverse, so we can hopefully see others in the future.”