Sunday, June 17, 2001

At left, Miss Honolulu Dana-Li Dung, 22, and her sister, Denby
Dung, 23, who was crowned Miss Hawaii on Friday night, spoke
at the Hilton Hawaiian Village yesterday.

Sisters share
in joy of
Hawaii pageant

Dana-Li and her sister,
Denby, the new Miss Hawaii
feel as though they
have both won

By Leila Fujimori

Denby and Dana-Li Dung, just a year and a half apart, have grown up doing everything together. So it just seemed natural for them to become the first sisters to compete in the same Miss Hawaii Pageant.

"We don't compete against each other at all," said Denby Dung, who was crowned Miss Hawaii Friday evening. "It would have been traumatic if she wasn't here."

The moment her sister's name was announced, Dana screamed, cried and ran up to Denby and they hugged, said the 23-year-old winner.

"I think it would have been the same if it had been the other way around," Denby said.

"She's Miss Honolulu," said Denby of her sister. "Together we're Miss Honolulu Hawaii."

Dung, who ran as Miss West Oahu, will go on to the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in September.

She also won the popularity award for selling the most tickets and ads, but she had help. Dana contributed her sales to Denby, so she could win.

Younger sister Dana, 22, said she was ecstatic when Denby won.

"I'm sad because she won't be with me to do it next year."

It was Dana who talked her older sister into entering her first pageant at the age of 16. In 1996, as reigning Miss Tropical Teen Hawaii, Denby crowned Dana who won that year.

Denby, a music teacher at Trinity Christian School also plays clarinet for the Royal Hawaiian Band.

She aspires to perform on the Broadway stage. She also models and appears in recent television ads for Kahala Mall.

Denby has selected music as her platform and touts music's ability to stimulate the brain.

"Its effects on a child's personal development and the importance to have it in every single school in America as part of the curriculum, the earlier the better."

Dung earned a bachelor of education degree in secondary music last year from the University of Hawaii and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1995.

The fifth-generation Chinese American lives with parents Dennis and Annette Dung at their Manoa home, where she grew up next door to her grandparents.

Besides the crowning of Miss Hawaii, there was another bit of excitement during Friday's pageant when Tinifuloa Grey proposed to Miss America Angela Perez Baraquio after Baraquio performed a hula. Grey came out, got down on one knee, and sang a song in which he asked, "Will you be my wife?" to which she accepted.

"We were so excited backstage, we were all crying and had to get a makeup touchup," Denby said.

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