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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 35)
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
Major
competition(s)
Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe 2008 (winner)
Miss Universe 2008
Project Runway season 9

Anya Ayoung-Chee (born October 17, 1981) is a Trinidadian fashion designer, model and television host. She was 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. She founded the fashion lines Anya de Rouge and Pilar and the online fashion retailer cANYAval.

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. 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 at Parsons School of Design and Central St Martins School of Art and Design. She remained in New York until 2007, when her brother, Pilar died. She then returned home to Trinidad.[2]

Miss Trinidad & Tobago

Following her return to Trinidad, Ayoung-Chee entered the 2007 Miss Universe competition and won the title of Miss Trinidad & Tobago. She is the second title Miss Trinidad & Tobago in the franchise's 44-year history to be of Chinese descent. 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."[3]

Following her success as Miss Trinidad & Tobago, Ayoung-Chee went on to host a number of Caribbean television and web-based shows, including her own fashion show, Make It Yours.[4]

Ayoung-Chee had been involved in philanthropy since 2003, when she became a member of the TallMan Foundation. The foundation was established by her family for the empowerment of young people in underprivileged areas. Following her Miss Trinidad & Tobago title, she became more involved in charitable work. 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 for the United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals.

Sex Tape

In 2009, a sex tape leaked on the internet of Ayoung-Chee, her boyfriend, photographer Wyatt Gallery and an unidentified woman (rumors that it was Japan Miss Universe 2008 Hiroko Mima were false).[5] Allegedly, the tape was stolen by a tech support specialist in Trinidad from Wyatt Gallery's laptop.[6]

In October 2015 Ayoung Chee spoke up publicly in support of another young woman whose nudes were stolen from her cell phone and posted on Facebook. Ayoung Chee wrote on Facebook, "For my own reasons I have NEVER even publicly addressed my own similar situation, however I cannot stand by and watch this happen to another person. This abuse MUST stop." She added that those sharing the photos should "recognise that you are complicit in this deplorable act of invading someone's privacy and damaging their character. Believe me, you would not want the table's turned. Show love, to yourselves and to others.”[7]

Fashion Designer

During the Miss Universe pageant, Ayoung-Chee brought her design training and experience to her own wardrobe, most of which she designed and styled.[8] That experience helped determine her to become a fashion designer.[9] She auditioned for and was accepted as a contestant on Season 9 of the American television show Project Runway in 2011.[10]

Ayoung-Chee had experience creating designs, but her tailoring had been done by others. Despite learning to sew only four months before auditioning for the program,[11] 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 women's line, Pilar—named after her deceased brother. 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.[12]

Ayoung-Chee continued to design for Pilar and also founded a lingerie line, Anya de Rouge. In 2014 she appeared on reality show Under the Gunn, working with Tim Gunn to mentor other designers.[13]

She has hosted events and produced fashion for Trinidad's carnival, [14]and has founded online store cANYAval, where she works with other designers creating clothing inspired by Trinidad's carnival. The store focuses on Monday Wear, or elaborate bathing suits worn on the day before carnival Tuesday.[15] She is also a travel ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago.[16]

Personal Life

Ayoung-Chee met her longtime boyfriend Wyatt Gallery in 2006 at Trinidad carnival.[17] Following the theft and release of their private sex tape in 2009, they ceased to appear in public together for some time, but continued dating. The two became engaged in 2015.[18]

References

  1. ^ http://www.jayblessed.com/?p=11929
  2. ^ "Meet the Stylist: Anya Ayoung-Chee". SimplyStylist.com. 13 Feb 2014. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  3. ^ "'I am unique and eclectic'". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 14 June 2008. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  4. ^ "Meet the Stylist: Anya Ayoung-Chee". SimplyStylist.com. 13 Feb 2014. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  5. ^ O'Connor, Maureen (18 Nov 2009). "Guy Everyone Thought Had Sex with Two Miss Universes Says He Is the Victim Here". Gawker.com. Archived from the original on 2016-03-20. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  6. ^ Sheridan, Michael. "Miss Universe 's3x' scandal: Miss Trinidad/Tobago sex video 'stolen' from laptop, claims boyfriend". nydailynews.com. NY Daily News. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Dowrich-Phillips, Laura (23 Oct 2015). "Anya Ayoung Chee stands up for victim of leaked nudes". LoopTT.com. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  8. ^ "Meet the Stylist: Anya Ayoung-Chee". SimplyStylist.com. 13 Feb 2014. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  9. ^ "Sex-Scandal Beauty Queen Now a Contestant on 'Project Runway'". Gawker.com. 13 July 2011. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  10. ^ "'Project Runway' Season 9: Meet the Designers: Anya Ayoung-Chee". Lifetime Networks. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  11. ^ Zaino, Nick (25 July 2011). "Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia Preview the 'Project Runway' Premiere". AOL TV. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  12. ^ "Anya Ayoung-Chee wins 9th Season of Project Runway". Asia Pacific Arts. 2011-10-31. 
  13. ^ James, Danielle (15 Sep 2014). "The Evolution of Anya: The Fashion Designer, the Mentor, the Winner". Huffington Post HuffPost Style. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  14. ^ Downs, Kenya. "Carnival Made In China: Trinidad's Annual Festival Faces A Generational Divide". WLRN Miami. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  15. ^ Dennis, Kendra (8 Sep 2014). "Largeup Interview: Anya Ayoung-Chee on cANYAval". LargeUp. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  16. ^ Sander, Brice (26 Dec 2014). "Where Are They Now: All 13 "Project Runway" Winners". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  17. ^ "Anya's engaged". Trinidad Express. 25 Jan 2012. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 
  18. ^ "Anya's engaged". Trinidad Express. 25 Jan 2012. Retrieved 30 Apr 2016. 

External links

Preceded by
Gretchen Jones
Project Runway winner
Anya Ayoung-Chee
Succeeded by
Dmitry Sholokhov
Preceded by
Kenisha Thom
Miss Trinidad & Tobago Universe
2008
Succeeded by
La Toya Woods