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Anya Ayoung-Chee

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Anya Ayoung-Chee
Beauty pageant titleholder
Anya Ayoung Chee.jpg
Anya at the Miss Universe 2008 Pageant
Born Anya Ayoung-Chee
(1981-10-17) October 17, 1981 (age 33)
New York, United States
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Hair color Black
Eye color Brown
Title(s) Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008
Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 (winner)
Miss Universe 2008
Project Runway (season 9)

Anya Ayoung-Chee (born Oct. 17, 1981) is Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 and was a contestant in the Miss Universe 2008 pageant, and also the winner of Project Runway's ninth season in 2011.

Early life

Anya Ayoung-Chee was born to Trinidadian parents in New York City but moved to Trinidad at the age of two, she therefore holds dual Trinidadian and American citizenship.[1] She is the only daughter in a family of eight. From an early age she pursued classical ballet training. However it was during her attendance at an all-girls secondary school, St. Joseph's Convent (Port of Spain), that she became passionate about art and design. She continued her education in London and New York, gaining experience in Graphic and Interior Design.


Beauty pageants

Ayoung-Chee was one of numerous young women who competed for the Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe title, after the country did not send a delegate to the 2007 Miss Universe Competition. On that night Gabrielle Walcott also won the Miss Trinidad & Tobago World 2008 title (simultaneously contested), and together they began training for their respective competitions.

Trinidad & Tobago have two Miss Universe winners: 1977 and 1998. Ayoung-Chee is the second title holder in the franchise's 44-year history to be of Chinese descent, the first being Stephanie Lee Pack in 1974. When asked, “Is your Asian heritage an issue since you represent a country with an overwhelming African and Indian heritage?” by Anya replied, “Trinidad & Tobago is unique in its ethnic make-up because it is a country with people of all races. I am of mixed origin, mainly Chinese, Indian and Caucasian, and although my particular mixture is a minority, I represent the unusual combination of ethnicities that defines us as a people”.

On November 8, 2009 La Toya Woods was crowned the new Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe, making Ayoung-Chee the longest reigning Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe, following Kenisha Thom (Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2006).


Anya was a contestant on Season 9 of the American television show Project Runway.[2] Despite learning to sew four months before auditioning for the program,[3] she placed in at least the top three of most of the challenges, and eventually won the competition on October 27, 2011. Through winning the competition, Anya earned $100,000 from L'Oreal Paris to begin her own line, Pilar. She also was featured in a fashion spread in Marie Claire and received a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel for the chance to design and sell merchandise, as well as a parthership with Anya was also voted the fan favorite for a Twitter contest and received another $10,000.[4]


Since 2003, Ayoung-Chee has been a member of the TallMan Foundation which was established by her family for the empowerment of young people in underprivileged areas.

In 2008 the United Nations Association of Trinidad & Tobago (UNATT) asked both Anya and Gabrielle Walcott to be spokeswomen and champions for the group. They both served during their reigns as Miss T&T, and continue as members of UNATT, the NGO arm of the United Nations which aims to advocate the United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals.


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Zaino, Nick (25 July 2011). "Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia Preview the 'Project Runway' Premiere". AOL TV. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Anya Ayoung-Chee wins 9th Season of Project Runway". Asia Pacific Arts. 2011-10-31. 

External links

Preceded by
Kenisha Thom
Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe
Succeeded by
La Toya Woods