|Jacqueline Bhagavan - Mrs California-America|
Jacqueline Bhagavan has just been crowned Mrs
California-America and talks here of her roots in Cambodia and what the beauty
pageant title represents. You can find out more about her at
. She's been involved in numerous charities and
advocates for cancer research and empowering women. As hostess of Complexion
Kitchen on YouTube, she supports a healthy lifestyle and eating habits.
Q. Where were you born? A. I was born in Pailin, Cambodia.
Q. What are your earliest memories from childhood? A. My
early memories have been of struggles, poverty, having to escape my birth
country, and finally finding peace in America. Luckily, my parents have made it
very palpable for us, giving us unconditional love that made the pain and
struggles we experienced as children pale in comparison.
Q. How old were you came to America? A. I was 6 years old.
We settled in Houston, Texas.
Q. What were your struggles as a child seeking refuge in
America? A. My family and I came to America, like all Khmer refugees, settling
in the new homeland, and facing many obstacles with the new language and
culture. My father had to find odd jobs to support a family of nine. He and my
mother had seven children to take care of and they both worked hard to insure
we got the right education to step out from the poverty.
Q. What are the greatest obstacles you have overcome in your
life and how have they shaped you? A. As a child, I had a few set backs with my
physical growth and emotional drama. I
was malnourished and had observed such trauma in my life. During our escape, my
parents hired two personal guides to help us reach the Thai border. There, I
witnessed one of the guides not only rob us and spare our lives, but he took
the life of his partner, shot him in broad day light. Although, these blockages
and life's suffering did not deter me from having courage and finding my
purpose. The malnourishment I experienced as a child prevented me from having
hair growth until I was six years old. I also had to play catch up in my
ability to process the aptitude needed for school. All of these delayed mental
and physical developments did not prevent from becoming successful. I was
always a fighter, a go-getter even as a child. Once we got to America and
settled, eventually I caught up with other students, and was given an IQ
test. Overnight, I was admitted to the
gifted program called G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education), and my
intellectual capacity was unstoppable. Even today, I never make an excuse for
why I can't be successful. I stayed focused, endured, I was persistent and determined to be a success!
Q. Who are your role models? A. My mother and father are my
role models. They instilled in me and my siblings the golden values of
education, compassion, love, charity and service to others.
Q. What inspired you to pursue the Mrs. California America
crown? A. It has always been a dream of mine to be Mrs. California-America as a
way to help the American family because this country has generously given so
much to me and my family. Family is my top priority. As Mrs. California-America
I want to share with married women the importance of taking care of yourself
and your family even on a budget with limited time. I have personal experience
in what takes to pull a family out of poverty and how important community help
can be. I personally believe that anyone given the right education, skills and
opportunity deserves an opportunity to succeed. It's important for me to share
with others my message of inner beauty, strength, compassion and to never give
up on your dreams.
Q. What thoughts did you have in that crowning moment? A. It
was a proud moment for me to be crowned Mrs. California-America. I did not realized I was a winner until I felt
the crown on my head.
Q. What values are you most passionate about promoting as
Mrs California America? A. The values of family and being together is what I'm
promoting. Also I want to share with
married women the importance of taking care of themselves and their family on a
budget and with limited time.
Additionally, as a YouTube host of the web show "Complexion
Kitchen", I want share with busy moms and women my tips and recipes for
cooking healthy meals for their families and helping them be their best, inside
Q. What is your definition of beauty? A. I think true beauty
is not only of the physical aspect, but it is much deeper in the soul, your
Q. How do you view your new responsibility of being a role
model? A. I think being a role model is a huge responsibility, one cannot take
that role lightly. I think the best role models are your life line circle- your
Q. Of what accomplishments are you most proud? A. I am a
family woman, and family is my priority above all else. My husband and I work
hard to create the foundation of love for our children; this accomplishment is
one I am very proud of. In addition to being a mother, creating a show that
helps the modern mother.
Q. What Cambodian values have helped you achieve the American
dream? A. My parents always stress on having a great education, and that
knowledge is not fleeting. Your possessions can be removed and taken away, but
not your knowledge. Another value is being honest and having integrity. If you
are honest with your intentions, you create a reality that is real and pure. Be
true, be real and honest with what you can and cannot do, and coupling that
with hard work and humility.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow
their dreams as you have? A. Be you, be real, be honest, take risks, have
courage (be fearless) and never undermine your integrity. Work hard and have a
vision as to why you really want to compete or go for what you are seeking.
Labels: Jacqueline Bhagavan, Mrs California-America