A Final Interview With Our Miss Hmong International 2016-2017, Maiv Ntxuam Xyooj
By Nancy Lee
Since everyone has been talking about the 2017-2018 Fresno Hmong New Year, I decided to go and interview the current Miss Hmong holding the title from Fresno, who resides in Minnesota. The competition for the title of Miss Hmong International is held during the Fresno HNY. It includes rounds such as Introduction, Self-design, Talent, Platform, Question Round 1, Question Round 2, and finally the Crowning round. With the Fresno HNY approaching, I’m sure everyone is excited to see who our next Miss HINY will be. Therefore, I decided to interview the current title holder.
Nancy Lee: Please tell us about yourself.
Maiv Ntxuam Xyooj: I am the oldest daughter of Wa Ma Xiong and Kao Vue. Residents of Minnesota for 20 years. I graduated from Metropolitan States University with a Bachelor Degree in Social Work. I was Miss Hmong American 1st runner up 2015 and a former lead trainer for Hmong American New Year beauty pageant. I also am a pageant coach. I do a lot of volunteer work such as performance along with HPO members to local events. In my free time, I like to go to the gym, network and pretty much go outdoors for new adventures.
NL: Why did you join this pageant? (Before competing, did you have a set goal? If yes, what was it?)
MNX: I joined the pageant because I am a person with passion and love for my community. I didn’t just want to win a crown and sash for my reputation. But I viewed it as a stepping stone. My volunteer hours made me realize that even one minute of my time; it makes a difference to people in some way somehow. Whether I win or not, it’s a key to more opportunity and an eye opener in our community.
NL: What was your motivation to win during the competition?
MNX: My biggest motivation to win during the competition was to show people that put me down that I could do it, some people didn’t believe in me because of my beauty and my size. To me, beauty comes from all sizes and shapes. We shouldn’t be judged that we cannot achieve something in regards to our looks. It takes more than just a beautiful face to wear a crown and sash. Beauty is just a portion of the score system, but a beauty with brains, and knowledge of her roots and community is the key.
My second motivation was my supporters, my fans. Whether I know them or not, they privately sent me messages to push me and encourage me to do my best because they see potential and believe in me. During competition, my sickness was draining me slowly throughout all those late night trainings, but everytime I opened my Facebook, the support was what kept me going.
NL: Who is the most influential person in your life? Why?
MNX: The most influential person in my life is my mom because she is a one of a kind woman. She’s a woman that needs no man. She’s a persevering person and I think that’s where I got that from. She is such a hard working woman who works more than 12 hours a day with barely any sleep as long it is for her family. She’s a person with a big, kind heart, she shares and helps with the littlest thing, and she is a forgiving person. She is a woman without an education degree, but she is a woman with a brain full of knowledge.
NL: What is an important value of yours?
MNX: An important value of mine is honesty because with no honesty, there is no foundation for a lasting and enjoyable relationship. Honesty help brings a good health and happiness that establishes a peaceful mind and goodwill.
NL: If you were given a second chance at something, what would it be? Why?
MNX: If I were given a second chance, it would be to relive my high school years because I was the quiet type of person. I didn’t take the opportunity to explore and be as active as I am today. I slacked off that challenge because I was a very shy person back then.
NL: What is one thing that you see the Hmong community lacks? How do you think it should be fixed?
MNX: One thing I see the Hmong community lacks is integrity. I think to fix this there’s many ways to do so. But most importantly, we need to not be excessively selfish and think of ourselves only, but as a whole community. Don’t neglect to tell the truth so we can build and maintain trust to build that relationship and strength in our community.
NL: What have you done to help the community so far?
MNX: What I have done to help the community so far was donating my time and knowledge and went back to Laos to do a free English class for students over the summer. Because kids in Laos and Thailand are not as fortune as we are here in America by getting free education. Therefore, I spent one whole month with about 50 students in Vieng Kham. Also, I spend my time every Thursday at Pebmoob Senior Center with the elders to help them exercise to maintain a healthy living. Besides that, I have donated money to some fundraisers and I have donated most of my time out in the community to give support and do charity work along with building that bond in our community.
NL: Do you have plans to do more? If yes, what is your next project idea?
MNX: Yes, I do have plans to do more. I am working with You’re Not Alone giveaway to homeless and shelters within the Twin Cities. I will also be doing a laptop giveaway to four students that are in their first or second year of college and this will be open for international students as well. Also, I do have two more projects, but they are still in the planning process.
NL: What do you like most about yourself?
MNX: I am a person of perseverance. Once I set my mind on something, I’ll strike to achieve it regardless of the difficulty.
NL: Do you remember the moment that your name was called as the winner? How did you feel?
MNX: Yes, I remember the moment my name was called as the winner. It was one of my biggest accomplishments. I felt so happy that working hard does pay off with whatever you do in life as long you don’t give up and believe in yourself.
NL: What do you consider as true beauty?
MNX: A true beauty is someone who isn’t just a beauty on the outside, but a person with a kind heart, good character, compassionate, and speaks with wisdom.
NL: What is one advice you would like to give to future contestants for the pageant competition?
MNX: Don’t compare and compete with other contestants. You are competing with yourself because you are your own competition.
I also look forward to the ladies that will be competing in this year’s chance to be the next Miss Hmong International. As we say our goodbyes to the current Miss HINY, Maiv Ntxuam Xyooj, we hope that she continues to thrive in the community and improve it in the future. Thank you so much for your hard work and help with the Hmong children in Thailand. We appreciate your work and your love for our Hmong people.