A night to remember and it’s only the beginning.
On May 31, 2008 Asian Avenue magazine hosted the first ever Miss Asian American Colorado event at the Holiday Inn Select Denver. The event was the culmination of a two-month leadership and personal development program geared towards training Asian American women to become future leaders in the workplace and in the community. During the exciting crowning ceremony, a standing-room-only audience watched with rapt attention as the 2008 Miss Asian American Colorado’s name was announced. It is our unique privilege now to introduce 24-year-old Japanese-American Amanda Igaki as the 2008-2009 Miss Asian American Colorado. She is a young woman in whom all the attributes of inner-beauty and leadership are readily apparent.
Meet Miss Asian American Colorado
Amanda is a native of Ventura, California. In 2006, she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University, majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Asian Studies. She is a history buff, and is particularly interested in the civilizations of ancient Far East Asia and the Middle East.
Amanda’s father is from Nishinomiya, Japan (at the time a small sake manufacturing city near Kobe and Osaka). As Amanda tells it, he was the first person from his hometown to leave there. He left for America when he was only 22 years old. He is now the Head Coach of the US National Olympic Karate team. The International Olympic Committee deems karate as a B-sport, so his team’s competition will unfortunately not be televised this year. Her mother is a native of Illinois and moved to California for school where she met Amanda’s father. After years of toiling in the corporate world, her mother retired last year from the Boulder-based biogenetics company Amgen. Now, both parents are professional potters. Her mom does the everyday ware, while her dad does the more artistic pots.
Amanda began studying karate with her father at the age of 2. She confesses that she spent most of that time running around the classroom. But through her father’s persistent mentorship, she quickly progressed in her skill level to the point where at 14 years old she made the national team. But karate wasn’t for her, and she decided to quit to pursue her real passion: Dance.
She has been dancing Hula since she was 8 years old. It was her grandmother, following her own passion for all things Hawaiian, who got Amanda involved with Hula originally. Her grandmother lived in San Francisco, but was able to find a school for Amanda near her home in Ventura. Sixteen years later she is more committed than ever to Hula, as well as many other types of dance. She has been working as a professional dancer for the past three years, working as an assistant teacher for “Halau Hula O Na Mauna Pohaku” or the Hula School of the Rocky Mountains, introducing a whole new generation of Coloradoan girls to the art of Hula. She is a founding member of the school and now serves as the Creative Director.
If you would like to read this article in its entirety, be sure to check out the July issue.