Students balanced candles, performed Bollywood dance and delivered stand-up comedy in the Hall of Flags Saturday night all for the honor of being named Mr. or Ms. Big Asian on Campus.
The competition concluded the 19th annual Asian Pacific American Heritage Week. Ten contestants showcased their talents for a crowd of over 150 people.
Each of these contestants was not only a performing artist but also an ambassador of Asian-American culture. Big Asian on Campus is not a conventional talent show as “these contestants didn’t audition — they were nominated to perform by the APAHW community,” Logistics Chairwoman and College sophomore Nishat Shahabuddin said. She clarified that APAHW board members nominated each performer from different Asian-American groups around campus.
When College junior Lucia Xiong was selected, her younger brother teased that she did not have any talents to showcase, she said. Little did he know that the audience would gasp with astonishment as Xiong danced on stage while balancing flaming candles on her head and hands, introducing the audience to Binasuan dance.
While other contestants paced nervously up and down the Hall of Flags, College sophomore Stephen Ahn was ready to charm the audience with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me.” “I haven’t been to the gym lately, but I’m feeling big tonight,” he said.
As APAHW coordinators counted the ballots backstage, popular YouTube artist Marie Hsiao left the audience misty-eyed with a song from her new album.
Carrying posters and wearing matching T-shirts, several sororities and fraternities made their presence loud and clear in the Hall of Flags. College senior and Vice President of the Multicultural Greek Council Elaine Kwon said she loved attending Big Asian and was excited to see Engineering senior Geraldine Uy bring the Philippines to Penn by performing the Tinikling dance.
The women of alpha Kappa Delta Phi were proud to see their own Nancy Liu, a Wharton sophomore, take home the title of Ms. Big Asian after moving the audience with a vocal performance of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” When Engineering senior Julius del Rosario was named Mr. Big Asian, Phi Kappa Psi and the Penn Philippine Association roared with pride. “I had no idea what I was going to perform until 4 a.m. last night,” he said. “All the contestants are just so talented … it’s just such an honor to be in the ranks with them.”
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.