Meet Macel Wilson, the first Asian American Miss USA

Macel Leilani Wilson became the first Asian American to be crowned Miss USA on Thursday night of July 12, 1962, in Miami, Florida, from a field of 40 contestants.

The Hawaiian beauty, a 19-year-old receptionist, was born in Honolulu to a Portuguese mother and her father, a plumber, is of Hawaiian, Chinese, and English descent. She was also the first non-caucasian woman to win the national title.

Diane Zabicki from Middletown, representing Connecticut, was named first runner-up while crowd favorite Tennessee's Gail White from Chattanooga finished as the second runner-up. 

California's Marilyn Tindall from Hollywood and Nevada's Janet Hadland from Las Vegas rounded out the Top 5 finalists as they were announced third and fourth runners-up, respectively.

Two days after winning the Miss USA pageant, Macel went on to compete against 51 other contestants in Miss Universe 1962 at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida, where she placed as one of the Top 15 semi-finalists.

Several years after her reign, she moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, and married a Danish civil engineer Jens Henrik Packness. She studied film at the University of Copenhagen and eventually worked as a film editor at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation for the most part of her life's career.

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