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Nine-year-old Richmond girl wins two awards at Little Sunshine Talent Search

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:59 PST, Wed November 23, 2022

Richmond’s Athena Mai finished as second runner-up as well as the People’s Choice Award winner in last weekend’s Little Sunshine Talent Search.

Back for the first time since the pandemic, the competition took place at Aberdeen Centre and featured 10 boys and girls. The competitors sang, danced, and showed off a multitude of talents in front of hundreds of audience members.

Mai, age nine, is a big fan of K-pop’s BLACKPINK and dreams of becoming a professional pianist so she can use music to enrich people’s lives like BLACKPINK’s Lisa.  

Organized by Fairchild Radio, Little Sunshine is an annual talent search for Chinese-speaking kids aged four to 12. Recruitment started in early September and 10 finalists were selected from 150 kids. After a month of intensive training in dancing, walking the catwalk, and self-introduction, the 10 finalists were given a chance to show off their individual talents on stage.

During the final contest, the judges (acting coach Truman Chiu and Fairchild Radio DJs Tracy Chen and Joyce Chen) judged the contestants’ performances in the following categories: opening dance, catwalk, self-introduction, talent show, question and answer, and parent-and-child fashion show.

Championship winner Chelsea Zhong was born in Shanghai and is a self-proclaimed “bubble tea princess.” First runner-up Annie Qi lives in White Rock and thanks her mom for driving her to Little Sunshine training and other after-school activities every day. Talent Award winner Iliya Wong lives in Burnaby and her hip-hop moves wowed the audience. Her dream is to be a hip-hop queen and win Canada’s Got Talent.

The winners and finalists of the 2022 Little Sunshine competition will be appointed the Goodwill Ambassadors of the Winter Warm Wave campaign, an annual clothing drive to benefit the Salvation Army. The 2022 Winter Warm Wave runs through Jan. 3, 2023 at various locations in Greater Vancouver.

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