All I need is my resume and good head shots and I’ll finally be ready,” proclaims Kelly Hu, former Miss Teen USA, as she lowers her sunglasses to check out a half dozen pages of modeling slides against the midday sun pouring in through the windows of the Santa Monica Cafe Casino.
“I’m really excited,” she says. “I’m entering the Miss Hawaii USA pageant. The actual competition isn’t until October 24th, but I’m starting to get ready now. I’m in the process of trying to gather sponsors. That’s why I’m putting all this together.” She waves her hand across the pile of letters, magazine articles, layouts and slides. “I’m so excited about it. It’s the preliminary to Miss USA. The national pageant isn’t until February of ’93, so I’ve got at least a year to get my act together.”
Hu is no stranger to beauty pageants. At the age of 16 she won the title of Miss Teen Hawaii and then went on to win the national Miss Teen USA crown. That was quickly followed by acting credits that include roles in The Doors, Family Ties, 21 Jumpstreet, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man and numerous commercials and magazine layouts.
“It’s just something I’ve wanted to do for so long,” she says. “As Miss Teen USA one of my prizes was automatic entry into the Miss America pageant, but I was only 17 at the time and I knew I wasn’t prepared then. I would have been competing against girls who were anywhere from 18 to 25. I’ve been obsessed with it for the past eight years. I need to get it out of my system before I get too old.”
Now 24, Hu is taking this challenge seriously. She’s even made a lifestyle change. “I’ve started waking up early. Well, eight thirty, nine o’clock is early for me anyway. And I’ve started working out. I’ll turn on Madonna really loud and bounce around my living room for an hour or two. My roommate just laughs. She thinks I’m nuts anyway.”
She has also gone back to a childhood passion—rollerskating. “I used to rollerskate competitively when I was a kid, but I never was any good. We competed like they do on ice skates. We did jumps and spins, like in freeskating, and figures and dance and speed. I even played hockey once, but I got smashed in the face with the ball and decided ‘never again!’”
She’s also begun a new diet regimen. “I was a vegetarian for a little while, a nd it felt pretty good. I read this book called the Vitamin Bible. I was in this health phase. Some people experiment with drugs, I experimented with herbs and vitamins. I kind of OD’d on vitamin A and I turned completely orange. Worse than that, I was drinking chlorophyll, which was part of this diet. It was supposed to give you energy, and my pee was green! I swear to God, I was scared. I guess I overdid it a bit. I never went back to vegetarian or health diets.
In fact, it was another change of skin-color that put an end to her early modeling aspirations.
I used to go to the beach a lot when I was a kid. In fact I used to tell my mom that I was going to church on Sunday, and I would wear my swimsuit under the muumu and then go to the beach with friends. I’d spend the whole day at the beach, then put my muumu back on and go home. My mom couldn’t understand why I was getting so dark. My mother would go nuts because she’s Chinese and she didn’t want me to get dark. Chinese think that fair skin is more beautiful, but then I didn’t care.” Next
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