|Photo: Lindsay King Portraits|
So, let's see what happens when Vivian Zhong visits Section 36!
How did you celebrate winning the Miss Michigan crown?
I celebrated winning the Miss Michigan title by taking a trip up north! I love Michigan summers and was able to make a trip to Mackinac Island and Traverse City, which are two of my favorite places in the summer. I am a huge fan of the outdoors so I loved taking in the nice weather and amazing views! After that trip, which was only a few days, I came back home to begin my duties as Miss Michigan and work on upcoming plans for my Social Impact Initiative.
Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Michigan?
One of my specific goals as Miss Michigan is to advocate for childhood cancer research. Only 4% of the NIH's annual budget goes towards pediatric cancer research. Children are our future and they deserve more than just 4%. I am currently in the works of meeting with a Congresswoman from Michigan to discuss the potential to work together to advocate for more funding. I hope the legacy I leave is one of hope and kindness.
What part of the Miss America competition are you most nervous about?
I am not nervous about any parts of the competition! Participating in this organization has allowed me to grow into a confident woman. I am more excited than anything to meet all of the amazing women and to represent my state.
How did you select your social impact initiative, “Golden Warriors: Fight Like a Kid”?
I am an incoming first year medical student, and I have always loved working with children. One of my friends passed away just before her 21st birthday due to complications from her chemotherapy and radiation treatments that she had undergone as a child for her Leukemia. I honor her by advocating for more non-invasive treatment options so that children who beat cancer don't have complications later in their lives. Because of this, I chose to work as a pediatric medical assistant during the pandemic and saw firsthand the struggles many children face while in the hospital. My career ambitions and my passions led me to choosing childhood cancer as my Social Impact Initiative, and I am so excited to help serve these children in every capacity possible.
As a talented pianist, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
I have been playing the piano since the age of 3, so it has always been a passion of mine. As part of my Social Impact Initiative, I perform children's songs for hospitals as part of their music therapy program. My absolute favorite part of playing piano is being able to share my passion with others, especially on stage.
If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
I would choose to be Mulan! As an Asian-American, I am very proud of my heritage. I love how she was the first Disney princess who fought for herself and her family.
I actually dress up as the character Mulan and visit hospitals and pediatric cancer patients with a local non-profit called Crowns Against Cancer. I love being able to bring some joy to these children during such a tough time.
What book have you recently enjoyed reading?
My favorite book at the moment is "When Breath Becomes Air" by Paul Kalanithi. It is such an inspiring memoir of a late neurosurgery resident. It gives me a lot to think about when it comes to living life to its fullest and taking in every opportunity presented to me.
If you had an extra ticket to see the Red Sox play the Tigers, who would you take with you? Why?
I would bring my mom. My mom and I are the best of friends, and she is by far my biggest supporter. We love traveling and going to sports games together, so I would definitely bring my mom.
Is there a feature or activity during a game at Comerica Park that you’d especially like to experience?
As an avid baseball fan, I would absolutely love to throw the first pitch at a Tigers game! I have been to many games with my family and love the atmosphere of the games. I may not be the most accurate pitcher, but it would be such an amazing experience to stand on that mound as Miss Michigan.
That would be quite an experience!
As always, I want to thank Vivian for visiting with us, and for sending along the picture to go with the interview.
As Vivian continues her time as Miss Michigan, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook account. You can also check out the Miss Michigan website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on!
I also want to wish her the best of luck when she competes for the Miss America crown this winter. It would be fantastic to have another section 36 visitor wear that crown!