Page 6 - Hawaii Island Midweek - Aug 25 2021
P. 6

          Darah Dung says that she’s a failure. It’s an impossible concept to wrap your brain around — she’s an accom- plished actress, admired beauty queen and a commit- ted community volunteer. However, there is actually one thing she hasn’t been successful at: fostering dogs.
lot of them, and 12 years lat- er, we’re foster fails because we still have them,” she says with a laugh.
them with their families and just giving back,” she adds.
“Every single pageant we have ever done, she has en- tered us in,” Dung says.
It’s a talent that was nurtured at home and through her the- ater experience.
happy and full of energy, so I felt really at home in that environment.”
 She currently has five dogs in her family: Harley, Draco, Gage, Shiloh and Stitch. Dung adopted Harley from Hawaiian Humane Society. Draco was her husband’s dog before they met (“obvi- ously, now, he’s mine”) and siblings Gage and Shiloh, as well as Stitch, were all for- mer fosters.
It’s no surprise that the host of The Pet Hui (on Spectrum OC16) would find it difficult to part with an adorable dog. The program is Hawai‘i’s only show that’s all about pets. Dung has been hosting it for about five years now. Her older sister, Denby, was the original host.
“My sister, Dana, she was the very first one. She wanted to make friends,” Dung says.
“I’ m still friends with so many of the girls ... I’ ve gone to their weddings and baby showers. I feel like that has been such an amazing takeaway from the pageant- ry of it, just the friendships and the sharing of the lives together,” she explains.
In fact, her brother, Dean, the eldest of her siblings, was performing even before his sisters.
“We started out fostering a
are in that (world) and I feel that they are so positive and
“Clearly, we don’t know how to foster because we just adopt them.”
The Roosevelt High School and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa alumna, along with her sisters Da- na-Li and Denby, first caught the public’s attention when the trio were winning beauty pageants. But it was never about tiaras for the siblings.
The plan worked. Dung, who’s been crowned Miss Teen Hawai‘i 1999, Miss Chinatown Hawai‘i 2003, Miss Chinatown USA 2003 and 56th Narcissus Queen, has made lifelong friends through her pageant experi- ences.
“My mom and dad (An- nette and the late Dennis Dung) were always singing, and my mom was an opera singer. They always encour- aged us,” she explains.
She’s taken the stage for several shows, including The Producers (2009), The Princess and The Iso Peanut (2010) and Lisa Matsumoto’s Anniversary Show (2012). (Her film credits include 50 First Dates, Go For Broke and Netflix’s The Wrong Missy.)
“I love the concept of the show because it’s about edu- cating the public about ani- mal care, but it’s also about helping to find lost pets in the community and reuniting
All that singing “led to musical theater,” she recalls. In the theater, Dung found
Dana entered a pageant after reading about it in the newspaper, and — apropos for someone adept at be- friending others — she won Miss Congeniality. She en- joyed the experience so much that she encouraged her sis- ters to enter pageants as well.
“My brother was in the Honolulu Boys Choir,” she notes.
It’s that positivity and de- sire to surround herself with like-minded people that led Dung to one of the many philanthropic groups that she works with.
Dung’s chosen talent for those pageants was singing.
another home.
“I loved the people who
She is a founding member of Echelon, a group of young professionals and leaders
For Darah Dung, host of The Pet Hui show and MidWeek’s newest columnist, success has always been about elevating the good and making friends along the way.

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