Leena Nguyen

Despite feeling she doesn't have the "model look," 24-year-old Viet-Chinese part-time model Leena Nguyen was among the top ten finalists at the 2007 and 2008 Miss Vietnam USA pageants and at the 2007 Miss Norcal Vietnam pageant. She was also crowned Miss California Asia and "Miss Talent" at the 2007 Miss National Asia Pageant. Achievements she is very humble about.

Leena, whose first passion is singing, was a Viet Idol finalist in 2006 and also made the March 2007 cover of the popular Viet lifestyle magazine, BN. She says she currently works with disabled children and plans on going back to school later to pursue a career in dentistry rather than compete in any more pageants, which she had previously considered doing.

An admitted pool addict, she jokingly told me that she "spent most of her high school and college years shooting at a billiards hall" and is an avid video gamer, making time specifically for them every day. And for those of you wondering if she can cook; she can and desserts are her specialty. "Name 'em, I can probably bake 'em," she says.

Korean Belly Dancer Ahn Yoo-jin

An article I read at another site about Chinese ladies taking up pole dancing, reminded me of another form of dance not rooted in the Far East, that's become popular there.

Belly dancing was introduced in Korea in the mid-90s by Ahn Yoo-jin (now 39) shortly after she had begun studying it in New Zealand. Yoo-jin (also know by her English name of Xena) went on to found Belly Korea Academy in 1995, according to the site. However, I remember first reading about her in this article from the Korea Herald in 2001, in which the dates given don't seem to jive. Anyway, regardless of the dates given, You-jin/Xena has appeared numerous times on Korean network television, is the only Korean belly dancer to hold a license from the Istanbul Total Dance Academy and has taught dance classes at several top universities in Korea.

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