Pinay teen turns heads after wearing traditional Filipiniana gown to prom
HOUSTON — For high school juniors and seniors, Prom Night is a big event in their lives, and deciding what to wear is a major decision.
But for one young Filipina-American, cultural dress was the only way to go.
It’s a right of passage for teens across the United States, with high school girls spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours to find the perfect dress to stand out at prom.
But for Houston high school student Tricia Jane Asuncion, prom was an opportunity to break from American tradition and instead, represent her heritage — with a Filipiniana outfit complete with a Pamaypay.
“Being that this is our senior year, we decided to go big for prom. We thought there was no better way than going cultural, so that is what we decided to do. All our friends went traditional.”
Jane convinced her date, as well as a group of friends, to also rock their culture’s traditional attire for prom — all in all representing Cameroon, Nigeria, India, China, and the Philippines.
“My classmates really loved the idea. When all my friends showed up at prom we got a lot of compliments saying how beautiful we looked and how handsome my date looked.”
The bold decision was a hit on the internet as well, with one of Jane’s posts showcasing her prom outfit receiving close to 8,000 likes on Twitter.
“It was overwhelming, but I felt really happy representing my own culture.”
It’s a stark contrast to a recent controversy involving white Utah teen Keziah Daum, whose prom photos showing her Chinese-style prom dress sparked an online controversy, re-igniting the ongoing debate surrounding what is and what isn’t cultural appropriation.
Jane says she was unaware of the controversy when she made her own outfit decision.
“It means more than just a dress. It represents what we stand for as a culture as a community and as a country,” she says. “So, before you wear something offhandedly, you should realize where it comes from.”
As for Jane, senior prom was a night to remember — not just for its glitz and glam, but the opportunity to inspire others, while showing pride for her Filipina heritage.
“I’m just really happy about all the positive feedback I got on Twitter. I received a lot of messages from other fellow Filipinos telling me they are going to do that again next year too. So, I’m really happy I had that positive impact representing my culture.”