Crossing cultural boundaries, the Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce crowns the 2015 Miss Middle East California Elona Brando

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At its second Miss Middle East California Pageant, the East County San Diego Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce celebrated the beauty, culture and the enablement of Middle Eastern women. Held at the La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum, the night was elegant, exotic and mesmerizing as 14 contestants represented the pride and heritage of the Persian, Lebanese, Kurdish, Assyrian, Iraqi and Chaldean culture.

At its second Miss Middle East California Pageant, the East County San Diego Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce celebrated the beauty, culture and the enablement of Middle Eastern women. Held at the La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum, the night was elegant, exotic and mesmerizing as 14 contestants represented the pride and heritage of the Persian, Lebanese, Kurdish, Assyrian, Iraqi and Chaldean culture.

With an impressive array of celebrity judges, a heart-pounding performance by international pop artists Z LALA, and a breathtaking “Good vs. Evil” fashion show by Claire’s Collection provided by Creative Director Rita Mezrahi, the night was one of sophistication, art and the women that wanted to represent a new culture of Middle Eastern women that crosses cultural barriers and stereotypes.

This annual event is the vision of CACOC President Ben Kalasho, serving to help invest the modern Middle Eastern woman with tools that they need to succeed in a modern world. With Jessica Kalasho as pageant director, this evening was flawless, featuring the women in casual apparel, ethnic wear and eveningwear. The judges had their work cut out for them, but in the end, Elona Brando (Assyrian) earned the crown, presented by Miss Middle East California 2014 Stephanie Malouf. First runner up is Emilyn Mohebbi (Persian) and second runner up Zuzan Taha (Kurdish).

Brando, in her impromptu questions, continuously referred to the platform of the ability of the different Middle Eastern cultures ability to stand together and promote fairness, equality and the empowerment of Middle Eastern women as role models in the community. And these qualities and values set the stage for her year of service in the community as Miss Middle East California 2015.

Judges: Lilly Ghalichi, reality star, Shally Zomorodi, Fox 5 anchor, Sonya Berg, Zen Fashionista, Andre Soriano, fashion designer, King Aminpour, attorney, Neda Iranpour, CW6 anchor, Angie Lee, CBS* reporter and Lisa Haisha, movie producer.

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