|Beauty pageant titleholder|
Anya at the Miss Universe 2008 Pageant
October 17, 1981
New York, United States
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Title(s)||Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008|
|Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 (winner)
Miss Universe 2008
Project Runway season 9
Anya Ayoung-Chee (born October 17, 1981) is Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 and was a contestant in the Miss Universe 2008 pageant. She was the winner of Project Runway 's ninth season in 2011.
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. She is the only daughter in a family of eight. From an early age she pursued classical ballet training. 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, studying graphic and interior design.
Ayoung-Chee was among one of many young women who competed for the Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe title, despite her country having not sent a delegate to the 2007 Miss Universe competition at the time. On that night Gabrielle Walcott won the Miss Trinidad & Tobago World 2008 title (simultaneously contested), and together they began training for their respective competitions.
Trinidad & Tobago has had 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?" Ayoung-Chee 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).
Ayoung-Chee was a contestant on Season 9 of the American television show Project Runway. Despite learning to sew only four months before auditioning for the program, she placed in the top three of most of the challenges, and eventually won the competition on October 27, 2011. Ayoung-Chee 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 with which to design and sell merchandise, as well as a partnership with Piperlime.com. She was also voted the fan favorite in a Twitter contest, for which she received another $10,000.
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 Ayoung-Chee 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.
- Zaino, Nick (25 July 2011). "Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia Preview the 'Project Runway' Premiere". AOL TV. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- "Anya Ayoung-Chee wins 9th Season of Project Runway". Asia Pacific Arts. 2011-10-31.
|Project Runway winner
|Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe
La Toya Woods