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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Khmer beauty sets sights on USA crown

Khmer beauty sets sights on USA crown

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S he spent a month and a half preparing for the interview question. The swimsuit part she had down already. After 22-year-old Soben Huon, above, won the title of Miss Utah on November 12 this year she now goes on to become the first Khmer-American to compete for the title of Miss USA.

Huon, who is originally from Long Beach, California, will be taking the next semester off from her political science studies at Brigham Young University (BYU) to fulfill her duties as Miss Utah. She will make public appearances, give speeches and represent Utah in various events before leaving for Baltimore, Maryland, to compete in Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant in April 2006.

The judges for the big event will be chosen from local celebrities and modeling agency representatives and will score the titleholders in three classic events: the interview, the evening gown and the swimsuit.

"My definition of beauty is confidence, and how one talks and present themselves," said Soben Huon.

The first Miss USA pageant was held in 1952 with only 30 contestants. The First Miss USA was then 21-year-old, Jackie Loughery of Brooklyn, New York. Though Asian-Americans have represented their respective states over the years, none has yet taken the national title.

"There is no difference between the physical beauty of Americans and Khmers - being beautiful means possessing confidence," Huon said.

-By Phatry Derek Pan

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