The Cities Blog

New Miss Minnesota is first Asian-American to hold title

As far as Minnesota firsts go, this one might not have been on your radar.

The state will send an Asian-American to the Miss USA pageant next year.

Nitaya Panemalaythong, 26, of Savage was crowned Miss Minnesota last month. The office worker and Normandale College student is the first Asian-American to win the honors, according to pageant producers.

Panemalaythong, whose family is from Laos, was born in a refugee camp in Thailand. In 1986, she moved to the United States as an infant. Her family lived in Minneapolis and North Carolina.

Her bio says her proudest achievement was buying a house last year. Why?

"She and her brother in law support 10 family members, living in that home," the bio says.

Panemalaythong was at first skeptical about entering the pageant, and at 26, she was the oldest contestant in the competition, the Savage Pacer reports.

(Photo courtesy of Future Productions)

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