Mia Pao is a 17-year-old youth advocate who aspires to, through an interdisciplinary approach of natural sciences, social sciences, and social entrepreneurship, create impact on a for-people, for-planet, and for-prosperity basis. Mia is keenly interested in the fast fashion sector of sustainability and has led youth organizations to advocate for stronger educational systems. Through building skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, she aims to tackle the intersectional issue of fast fashion through systemic change.
Mia is currently an international boarding student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. She comes from a diverse background; born in Tokyo and growing up in Hong Kong. While English is her first language and the primary language spoken at home, Mia also speaks Japanese and Mandarin.
Growing up, Mia has always been identified by her peers through her passion for dance. Trained in ballet, contemporary, and jazz, Mia has danced in multiple competitions and dance groups. Outside of her academic and professional pursuits, Mia spends most of her free time continuing to pursue her decade-long passion for dance. Interestingly, Mia credits her experience in dance with the development of her resilient, responsible, and creative character traits. One experience that stands out was her first time competing in a large-scale international ballet competition. She struggled greatly in preparation for the competition, scared of her opponents who were full-time ballet students. However, she practised diligently and managed to pass the first round of competition, which was much farther than she had predicted. Mia was proud of her accomplishments and learned about the integrity of resilience through her performance.
Mia was exposed to sustainability issues at a young age, meeting local leaders of social enterprises and NGOs in Hong Kong. The continuous conversation surrounding environmental issues encouraged her to grow into a student who took initiative to become a catalyst for change. In high school, she became a member of the school’s sustainability coalition, eventually becoming co-head of the EcoAction club. Mia is also a board member of the Activism Association and FBLA club.
Mia’s unique interest in fast fashion comes from a childhood passion for fashion, music, and culture. In her personal life, Mia had always loved expressing herself by developing a unique style. However, Mia’s growing awareness of the unethical practices behind the clothes she was wearing inspired her to change. While advocating for change on a large scale, Mia takes individualised action by buying from local thrift shops and smaller environmentally-conscious brands.