Businesswoman, NASA Scholar, Pageant Winner, Cross Cultural Communication Consultant Advocate for Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse
By: Heidi PP, Editor in Chief, iF Magazine
A global report on Trafficking in Persons launched by the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crimes provided new information that shames us all. Based on data gathered from 155 countries, it offers the first global assessment of the scope of human trafficking and what is being done to fight it. Go to https://www.unodc.org to learn more. Joining the fight and becoming a leader in the efforts to put an end to human suffering on many levels is Ms. Eileen Dong, Ms. Texas 2021.
Heidi PP: I see you brought your crown and banner how beautiful. First tell us a little about your background and how you came to Houston.
Eileen Dong: I am a business person, a linguist, and a cross cultural communications consultant. Houston, as you know, is the most diverse city in the country, and that was the attraction for me.
Heidi PP: Yes, Houston is certainly an international hub. I am so proud you came to Houston because of all the wonderful work that you are doing. Congratulations on your recent title, Ms. Texas. Can you tell us a little about the Ms. Texas organization?
Eileen Dong: Absolutely. I am still very thankful and very honored to represent Texas. Thanks to the title, I can be an ambassador for people who have been trafficked or who have been in a domestic violence situation. Because of this honor, I am able to meet community leaders easily and I encourage them to use their influence to help those individuals in their communities who have not had a voice. I can bring attention to these situations and help them to find and get relief.
Heidi PP: Yes. You have always used pageantry as a platform. How did you get into pageants and modeling? Did you start young?
Eileen Dong: Actually it all started when I was working for the Formula One Grand Prix with races around the world. I got spotted by L’Oréal Paris as a model.
Heidi PP: Oh, how wonderful! That is so exciting, the Grand Prix! I have seen your images and you are so involved. What led you to be an advocate of domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault?
Eileen Dong: You must know the Asian Culture is based on the honor and shame system. If a victim talks, it brings dishonor to the family. In our culture, the women are not allowed to speak up for themselves. For years, I felt the need to do something. There was nothing I could do really. Now I can do something. When they see my face, they think she knows my culture and she knows what is going on. So maybe I can speak with her. I can speak up. So now when I call, I can connect them with the people and resources in their communities who can help. I can use my cross-cultural experiences to train the providers in how to talk with the victims and address their fear of the stigma. They can better help them through the trauma and help them to move forward in life.
Heidi PP: That is such important work. It sounds beautiful to be an advocate. I know that most of us know about trafficking. We know that it is a great problem, but we do not know what we can do to help. What are your thoughts on what everyday citizens can do to help put a stop to this?
Eileen Dong: Absolutely. I am a spokesperson for one of the non-profits, Hope Pyx Global. Any citizen can go to the website www.hopepyxglobal.org or social media such as www.facebook.com/HopePyxGlobal. There is a lot of information about what is going on. I also would strongly suggest that they go to my social media such as www.facebook.com/MsUSATexas. There are a lot of resources available for someone who has a need or for someone to educate themselves about the problems and what is happening in their community.
Heidi PP: It is really about awareness then.
Eileen Dong: Absolutely. Regardless of your age, your race, your economic status, or your gender, anyone can be a victim. It is a global problem. As a global citizen, I will continue to work, advocate and fight until everyone is free. Everyone can go on social media, go on the website, and they can email us. Shop at Amazon Smile, select Hope Pyx Global as your favorite charitable organization or this link https://tinyurl.com/AmazonHPG. Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to them, no fees, no extra cost. On the website, they can make a one-time donation or a recurring donation. Also, I have some exciting news. I am about to launch The Ms Texas Show, www.tinyurl.com/TheMsTexasShow, to showcase some of the things I have been working on. I will be interviewing pageant nominees and community leaders about what they have been doing and what impact they are having on their communities. It is very near and dear to my heart. The interview will showcase their beauty and their hearts. It is important. Also, we would like to spotlight some of our survivors. On the website, there is a page called Testimonials. I would like to spotlight the individuals and have them share their stories on how they have overcome their trauma and what they are doing now. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. That is why I am launching now.
Heidi PP: It is inspiring to see so many powerful women coming together. How does someone reach you? Someone who needs you? Someone who wants to help?
Eileen Dong: The best way is for someone to go to our Facebook page and send us a message, if someone wants to help, come on the show. Community leaders like yourself can come on the show and share your experiences within the international community. Also, someone who needs to talk with me can go to my personal Facebook page and send a message.
Heidi PP: Thank you for taking the time to share your exciting work and experiences. Yes, we will come on your show. And we hope to see you at the Global 7 gala and other events once things open up again.
Eileen Dong: Thank you Heidi for this opportunity to talk about our work and get the message to the international community.
Photographer: Simon Suen, Francisco Torres
Dress: TopDog Halloween, Mary Santibanez Couture
Horse: Good Night Sweet Dreams
Location: Houston City Place Marriott at Springwoods Village, Vantage Point Farm