Historical Adventures: Filipino American History Month

October has been officially recognized as Filipino American History Month since November 2009 when Congress passed the resolution for its recognition. But FAHM has been observed since the inaugural one in 1991. The month was established by the Filipino American National Historical Society in 1991.

October was chosen as FAHM to commemorate when Filipinos first came to the continental U.S. on October 18, 1587. The month’s purpose is to bring awareness to the ways Filipinos have contributed to American history.

In honor of FAHM, we spent October learning more about how some of our fellow Filipinos have contributed to American society through basketball, Broadway, and gymnastics―some of our biggest interests.

The following lists are not complete lists of Filipinos in their respective fields. Broadway performers are listed under the show they are best known for.


Photo credit Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Name: Jordan Clarkson
Bio: Clarkson is the lone active NBA player of Filipino descent, getting such heritage from his mother. In June 2018, he became the first Filipino to play in the NBA Finals.

He played collegiately at the University of Tulsa before transferring to the University of Missouri. Clarkson was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 46th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, spending the 2014-2015 season going back and forth from the Lakers to its D-League (now G-League) affiliate―the D-Fenders―before ending the season as a starter for the Lakers.

Along with Jeremy Lin, Clarkson was a part of the first Asian-American backcourt in the NBA.
NBA Draft: 2014 – 16th pick of the 2nd round, 46th overall
NBA Career:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (2018-Present)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (2014-18)


  • 2014-15 All-Rookie First Team


Photo via Yahoo Sports

Name: Nate Robinson
Bio: In 2001, Robinson, whose Filipino heritage comes from his maternal great-great-grandfather, started school at the University of Washington on a football scholarship before choosing to focus on basketball during his sophomore year. He played three seasons on the Huskies men’s basketball team, passing on his final year of eligibility to enter the 2005 NBA draft.

Robinson is best known for being an undersized guard with a tremendous vertical leap, giving way to an explosive dunking ability. He is the NBA’s three-time slam dunk champion.
NBA Draft: 2005 – 21st overall pick
NBA Career:

  • New Orleans Pelicans (2015)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (2015)
  • Denver Nuggets (2013-15)
  • Chicago Bulls (2012-13)
  • Golden State Warriors (2012)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (2011)
  • Boston Celtics (2010-11)
  • New York Knicks (2005-10)


  • NBA Slam Dunk Champion (2006, 2009, 2010)

Photo via NBA

Name: Erik Spoelstra
Bio: Spoelstra, whose mother is Filipino, is the head coach of the Miami Heat. Not only is he the first Asian-American coach to win an NBA title, but he’s also the first Asian-American head coach out of the four major sports leagues.

He played collegiately at the University of Portland from 1988 to 1992 and went on to play professionally in Germany as a player/assistant coach for the TuS Herten basketball club.
NBA Career:

  • Miami Heat head coach (2008-Present)
  • Miami Heat assistant coach (1997-2008)
  • Miami Heat director of scouting (2001-2008)
  • Miami Heat advanced scout (1999-2001)
  • Miami Heat video coordinator (1995-1997)


  • NBA Championship (2006, 2012, 2013)
  • NBA Co-Coach of the Year (2017)

Photo via Getty Images/NBA

Name: Raymond Townsend
Bio: Townsend, whose mother is from the Philippines, played three seasons in the NBA and was the first Filipino-American to play in the league. Before the NBA, he played college basketball at UCLA and earned all-conference honors.

He was drafted by the Golden State Warriors as the 22nd overall pick in the 1978 draft.
Currently/Previously: Retired

  • Indiana Pacers (1981)
  • Golden State Warriors (1978-80)



Photo via Nickelodeon

Name: Joshua Dela Cruz
Bio: Dela Cruz started doing theatre in high school, joining the program there to make friends. The summer before his junior year, he studied at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey on a scholarship. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre from Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey. Cast as an ensemble member and understudy for the titular role, Dela Cruz made his Broadway debut in Aladdin. He had been with the show since its first production in 2011.

Now, Dela Cruz will be the host for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues reboot. Interestingly enough, he grew up watching the show and would sing the “Mailtime Song” to his sister.
Currently/Last seen in: Blue’s Clues & You – Host
Major Broadway credits:

  • Aladdin on Broadway – Aladdin replacement, Aladdin understudy, ensemble

Via adamjacobs.net

Name: Adam Jacobs
Bio: As a child, Jacobs studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a pianist. He studied piano for until he was 13 before trying musical theatre. During high school, he furthered his musical theatre education by attending the summer programs at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia and the American Conservative Theater in downtown San Francisco.

Jacobs went on to study at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater. He eventually was cast in the Les Misérables national tour as Marius. He then made his Broadway debut in the 2006 revival of the show, working alongside fellow Filipinos Ali Ewoldt and Lea Salonga.

Jacobs is best known for originating the title role in Aladdin, which opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in March 2014. He was also with the show since its first production in 2011.
Currently/Last seen in: Sweet Charity at Lincolnshire, IL’s Marriott Theatre – Vittorio Vidal
Major Broadway credits:

  • Aladdin National Tour – Aladdin
  • Aladdin on Broadway – Aladdin
  • The Lion King on Broadway – Simba replacement
  • The Lion King North American tour – Simba replacement
  • Mamma Mia! second national tour – Sky replacement
  • Les Misérables Broadway revival – Marius
  • Les Misérables third national tour – Marius replacement

Photo credit Deen van Meer

Name: Arielle Jacobs
Bio: Jacobs sang in her church choir alongside her brother, Adam―who originated the title role in Aladdin on Broadway. The two were in a song and dance troupe called “The Razzle Dazzle Kids” together. She started doing theatre in high school but was unsure of whether to pursue music professionally. When applying to colleges, half of the schools Jacobs applied for were for music, and the other half were for science. She only got into the schools where she applied for music. Jacobs ended up attending NYU, graduating magna cum laude.

In 2010, she made her Broadway debut in In the Heights as Nina. In 2016, she originated the role of Princess Jasmine in the Australian production of Aladdin. Jacobs now plays the same role in the Broadway production of the show.
Currently/Last seen in: Aladdin on Broadway – Jasmine replacement
Major Broadway credits:

  • Aladdin on Broadway – Princess Jasmine replacement
  • In the Heights – Nina replacement
  • In the Heights national tour – Nina
  • Wicked – Nessarose replacement
  • High School Musical on Stage – Gabriella Montez

Photo credit Marc J. Franklin

Name: Don Darryl Rivera
Bio: Rivera, a Seattle native, has loved singing since he was a child and took piano lessons growing up. He was also a member of a Filipino folk dance group called Kultura. In high school, he decided to pursue an acting career and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.

He did numerous productions at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.; the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Seattle Children’s Theatre before originating the role of Iago in Aladdin’s world premiere at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. He eventually went on to originate the same role when Aladdin opened on Broadway in 2014 and remains a member of the cast as Iago.

Rivera is also an accomplished composer and playwright, having contributed to children’s musicals. As a playwright, he did the book for the musical Harold and the Purple Crayon, which is based on the children’s book. He also collaborated on the book and music for the musical Adventures with Spot, which was adapted from Eric Hill’s Spot book franchise.
Currently/Last seen in: Aladdin on Broadway – Iago
Major Broadway credits:

  • Aladdin on Broadway – Iago
  • Aladdin national tour – Iago


Photo via Isa Briones

Name: Isa Briones
Bio: Briones is the daughter of Miss Saigon’s Jon Jon Briones and Megan Johnson Briones. With actors as parents, she was born into a musical theatre family. In fact, she was born in London while Jon Jon was closing the original West End production of Miss Saigon. However, it wasn’t until her family moved to Los Angeles that she started her acting career. She did television and film but committed to doing musical theatre while Jon Jon did the West End revival of Miss Saigon starting in 2014.

At the start of the year, Briones won the “Featured Actress in a Musical” award at the Ovation Awards, peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles. The award was for her portrayal of Natalie in Next to Normal at the East West Players theater.

In March, Briones joined the Hamilton first national tour cast, becoming the youngest member of the company.

She was also in the Emmy Award-winning American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace as Elena Cunanan.
Currently/Last seen in: Hamilton Angelica national tour – Peggy Schuyler, Maria Reynolds replacement; Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton understudy
Major Broadway credits:

  • Hamilton Angelica national tour – Peggy Schuyler, Maria Reynolds replacement; Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton understudy

Photo via Karla Garcia/Broadway Dance Center

Name: Karla Garcia
Bio: Garcia is a Maryland native who took her first tap dance class at 3 years old. She started dancing competitively at 8 years old and got her first professional gig when she was 12 years old, performing in Brothers of the Knight with Debbie Allen at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. It was at this age that Garcia also decided she wanted to be a professional dancer.

She went on to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts on a scholarship. While there, she became involved with the International Filipino Association and participated in their dance team. In 2006, she made her Broadway debut in the musical Hot Feet, which featured Earth, Wind and Fire’s music, as a member of the ensemble. After its three-month run on Broadway, she returned to NYU to get her degree. In 2009, Garcia competed in season five of So You Think You Can Dance and was a member of the top 20.

Now, Garcia is best known for being the first Filipino-American cast member of Hamilton. She also is a choreographer, having won the “Best Choreography” award at the 2017 Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Award for Virginia Repertory Theatre’s production of ’ In the Heights.
Currently/Last seen in: Hamilton – Co-dance captain
Major Broadway credits:

  • Hamilton – Co-dance captain
  • Gigi Broadway revival – Parisian replacement
  • The Addams Family – Addams ancestor
  • West Side Story – Lupe replacement, swing
  • Wicked Emerald City tour – Ensemble replacement
  • Hot Feet – Ensemble

Photo via Jamila Sabares-Klemm

Name: Jamila Sabares-Klemm
Bio: Jabares-Klemm is a Filipino-born actress, singer, and dancer who’s most well known for her role as Eliza in the Chicago production of Hamilton. A lot of her childhood was spent in the Philippines, but she later moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and attended an arts school there. Jabares-Klemm is a Nittany Lion alumna as she received her B.F.A. in musical theatre from Penn State University. Her resume includes a plethora of regional and touring productions, including the first national tour of Hair, Chicago Lyric Opera’s production of The King and I, and Macbeth at the New York Classical Theatre.
Currently/Last seen in: Hamilton Chicago – Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton
Major Broadway credits:

  • Hamilton Chicago – Eliza Schuyler/Hamilton
  • Hair first national tour – Member of the Tribe replacement, Sheila understudy

Miss Saigon

Photo credit Emilio Madrid-Kuser

Name: Emily Bautista
Bio: Bautista previously went to Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, for theatre arts with the intent to look into other programs. She had become discouraged about a professional career in theatre and started to distance herself from it. But she ended up being offered the Kim Understudy/Female Ensemble role for Miss Saigon’s Broadway revival, making her Broadway debut in the show. She will now be Kim in the current U.S. national tour for Miss Saigon and will eventually go back to school “on (her) own time and with (her) own money.”
Currently/Last seen in: Miss Saigon U.S. national tour – Kim
Major Broadway Credits:

  • Les Misérables North American tour – Éponine
  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – Kim understudy, bar girl

Photo via officiallondontheatre.com

Name: Jon Jon Briones
Bio: Briones was an engineering student before getting into musical theatre. He had a friend who was a producer that was facilitating the auditions for Miss Saigon. Briones helped arrange the auditions and then decided to audition himself, landing a spot in the ensemble. After doing Saigon in London, he went on to be a swing—and later the Engineer—for a German production of the show. Eventually, he returned to the West End to play the Engineer followed by the Philippines and across Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Briones made his Broadway debut as the Engineer in 2017. He also portrayed Modesto Cunanan in the Emmy Award-winning American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Currently/Last seen in: American Horror Story – Grand Chancellor Ariel
Major Broadway Credits:

  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – The Engineer
  • Miss Saigon West End revival – The Engineer
  • Miss Saigon West End – Ensemble

Photo via IBDB

Name: Billy Bustamante
Bio: Bustamante is a director, performer, choreographer, and photographer who studied musical theatre at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He made his Broadway debut in 2015 when he was a swing in The King and I’s Broadway revival. Bustamante is a co-founder of Broadway Barkada, a Filipino cultural organization made up of Filipino performers; has a photography business, Billy B Photography; and acts as co-artistic director for B-Side Productions, a New York City-based theatre company.
Currently/Last seen in: Soft Power world premiere in Los Angeles – Cast
Major Broadway Credits:

  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – The Engineer understudy, assistant commisar, moulin club owner
  • The King and I Broadway revival – Swing, Lun Tha understudy

Via broadwaydirect.com

Name: Eva Noblezada
Bio: Noblezada went to the Northwest School of the Arts and was one of five finalists at the 2013 National High School Musical Theatre Awards — better known as the Jimmy Awards. She was noticed by a casting director at the awards ceremony and was eventually cast to play lead the West End revival of Miss Saigon as Kim. She later made her Broadway debut in March 2017, reprising the role of Kim for Saigon’s Broadway revival. Noblezada will be in a musical movie Yellow Rose, starring opposite of Saigon’s original Kim, Lea Salonga.
Currently/Last seen in: Hadestown West End – Eurydice
Major Broadway Credits:

  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – Kim
  • Les Misérables West End – Éponine
  • Miss Saigon West End revival – Kim

Photo via IBDB

Name: Catherine Ricafort
Bio: Ricafort is a 2009 graduate of the University of Southern California. At USC, she majored in industrial and system engineering and minored in musical theatre. She also held principal roles with the Pacific Festival Ballet Company and the USC Repertory Dance Company. Despite her major, Ricafort wanted to try pursuing a professional career in theatre, and it paid off when she joined the company for A Chorus Line’s national tour. She followed that with her Broadway debut in Mamma Mia!. After Honeymoon in Vegas abruptly closed in 2015, Ricafort made use of her engineering degree by helping launch Homepolish’s product division. She then returned to Broadway in Allegiance and has since been a part of numerous Broadway productions.
Currently/Last seen in: SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical – Karen the Computer
Major Broadway credits:

  • SpongeBob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical – Karen the Computer replacement, undersea creature replacement
  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – Dominique, Patpong street worker
  • Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical – Lila Dixon understudy, KENO Quartet, Cat’s Meow dancer, ensemble
  • Disaster! – Ben/Lisa understudy, casino guest, staff, Traci
  • Allegiance – Betsy Tanaka, ensemble
  • Honeymoon in Vegas – Mahi, ensemble
  • Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella – Ensemble
  • Mamma Mia! – Ali replacement, ensemble
  • A Chorus Line national tour – Connie replacement

Photo credit Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America

Name: Lea Salonga
Bio: Salonga, a child star in the Philippines, was a pre-med biology student at Ateneo de Manila University when she auditioned to be in the 1989 original production of Miss Saigon in the West End. She ended up originating the role of Kim and went on to make her Broadway debut in the same role when Saigon transferred to Broadway in 1991, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She has since performed in numerous musical productions on Broadway, across the U.S., in the Philippines, and throughout Asia. Her most recent Broadway role was portraying Erzulie in the Tony Award-winning revival of Once on This Island. Salonga is best known by the general public for being the singing voice of Disney’s Princess Jasmine in the animated Aladdin movie and Fa Mulan in the animated Mulan movie, making her the only person to have voiced multiple Disney princesses.
Currently/Last seen in: Annie at the Hollywood Bowl – Grace Farrell
Major Broadway credits:

  • Once on This Island Broadway revival – Erzulie
  • Allegiance – Kei Kimura
  • Les Misérables Broadway revival – Fantine replacement
  • Flower Drum Song Broadway revival – Mei-Li
  • Les Misérables – Eponine replacement
  • Miss Saigon – Kim
  • Miss Saigon West End – Kim

Photo credit Billy Bustamante

Name: Lianah Sta. Ana
Bio: Sta. Ana became the first Filipino-American to win the Star of Tomorrow singing contest at Harlem’s Apollo Theater. She was also the junior grand champion at the World Championships of Performing Arts in 2010. Furthermore, as a child, she sung at Madison Square Garden, the U.S. Open, and at Yankees and Mets games. At 17 years old, she made her Broadway debut as a member of the ensemble in Miss Saigon. Sta. Ana, also the Kim alternate, made her debut as the 17-year-old Kim on March 4, 2017. She is currently attending Columbia University’s School of General Studies part-time.
Currently/Last seen in: Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines Off-Broadway – Performer
Major Broadway credits:

  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – Kim alternate


Photo credit Cindy Ord/Getty Images North America

Name: Aaron Albano
Bio: Albano sang solos in church growing up, which is how he discovered his love for the performing arts. He joined the Children’s Musical Theatre of San Jose and took dance classes at Marie Stinnett Dance Studio. Come high school, his commitment to performing arts remained strong, as he attended Abraham Lincoln High School, a performing arts magnet school, in San Jose, California.

Albano went on to study musical theatre at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and immediately moved to New York City afterwards. He made his Broadway debut in 2004 as an ensemble member in Bombay Dreams. He is well known for being an original cast member of Newsies.
Currently/Last seen in: Hamilton Philip national tour – Ensemble
Major Broadway credits:

  • Hamilton Philip national tour – Ensemble
  • Cats – Chorus, Skimbleshanks, swing
  • Allegiance – Tom Maruyama, ensemble, Sammy Kimura understudy
  • The King and I – Assistant dance captain, Simon of Legree understudy, swing
  • Newsies the Musical – Finch, A Citizen of New York, Bunsen understudy, Seitz understudy
  • Wicked – Ensemble, Boq understudy
  • Wicked Emerald City national tour – Ensemble, Boq understudy
  • Mary Poppins – Valentine, ensemble, Robertson Ay understudy
  • A Chorus Line – Mark understudy, Paul understudy, swing
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Chip Tolentino
  • Bombay Dreams – Emsemble, Akaash understudy

Photo via Disney

Name: Julian DeGuzman
Bio: DeGuzman has been dancing since he was 3 years old, the age when his father enrolled him in classes. He was doing a variety of styles early on, taking ballet, jazz, and tap classes in addition to gymnastics. He committed to dance by the time he was in high school, studying at the San Francisco Ballet School. His dance education continued at the University of California-Irvine, where DeGuzman double majored in fine arts – dance and sociology.

From 2009 to 2011, DeGuzman’s dancing career was jeopardized when he had several surgeries to treat a rare form of a bone tumor in his left femoral head, the top part of the thigh bone. But he overcame the tumor to make his Broadway debut in Newsies. DeGuzman is also featured in the filmed stage version of Newsies, which is available on Netflix and Amazon, as Smalls.
Currently/Last seen in: Hello, Dolly! on Tour – Ensemble, Barnaby Tucker understudy
Major Broadway credits:

  • Hello, Dolly! on Tour – Ensemble, Barnaby Tucker understudy
  • Hello, Dolly! Broadway revival – Ensemble replacement
  • Miss Saigon Broadway revival – Barman, Vietnamese Army Soldier, Thuy understudy
  • Newsies the Musical North American tour – Finch, A Citizen of New York, ensemble, swing
  • Newsies the Musical – Assistant dance captain, swing

Photo via IBDB

Name: Nico DeJesus
Bio: DeJesus’s first dance class was a free hip-hop class that his parent took him to. He ended up excelling at it and began to take hip-hop at Neisha’s Dance and Music Academy in Chula Vista, California. At a child, DeJesus also did roller hockey and eventually had to decide between that and dance. He ended up picking dance and went on to study dance at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. Afterwards, he studied at UCLA.

During high school, DeJesus was featured in two Barbie commercials and in Jay Z’s “Izzo” video. He has also been on MTV’s Awkward as Henry and a dancer in Disney’s television show Shake It Up.

DeJesus is best known for portraying Romeo in the Newsies national tour and is featured in the same role in the filmed stage version, too. He made his Broadway debut earlier this year in Pretty Woman: The Musical.
Currently/Last seen in: Pretty Woman: The Musical – Assistant dance captain, swing
Major Broadway credits:

  • Pretty Woman: The Musical – Assistance dance captain, swing
  • Newsies the Musical North American tour – Romeo, A Citizen of New York, ensemble

The Phantom of the Opera

Photo credit Matthew Murphy

Name: Ali Ewoldt
Bio: Ewoldt, who gets her Filipino heritage from her mother, took voice, dance, and oboe lessons as a child. She did musical theatre all throughout high school and even won an award for her role in The King and I her senior year. Knowing the challenging nature of making it in the musical theatre business, though, Ewoldt decided to go to Yale because it was a school where she could continue performing but still pursue something else. She ended up getting a degree in psychology, graduating cum laude, but at least wanted to try to pursue theatre.

During a production of The Marriage of Figaro by Yale’s opera program, she was discovered by an agent from New York and joined the agency. She started working at Disneyland’s California Adventure as the Princess Jasmine body double/understudy in Aladdin. Ewoldt then worked at DisneySea Park in Tokyo.

When she returned to the United States, she joined the national tour of Les Misérables as a member of the ensemble. When the tour closed, she made her Broadway debut in the Les Misérables Broadway revival as Cosette alongside fellow Filipinos Adam Jacobs (who originated the title role in Aladdin on Broadway) and Lea Salonga (the singing voice for Disney’s Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan in Mulan, the original Kim in Miss Saigon).

Now, Ewoldt is Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest-running show. Not only is she the first Filipino to portray Christine, but she is also the first Asian to portray the female lead.
Currently/Last seen in: The Phantom of the Opera – Christine Daaé replacement
Major Broadway credits:

  • The Phantom of the Opera – Christine Daaé replacement
  • The King and I Broadway revival – Royal wife, Townsperson, royal singer, Tuptim understudy
  • West Side Story 2010-2012 national tour – Maria
  • Les Misérables Broadway revival – Cosette
  • Les Misérables national tour – Ensemble


Photo via LSU Athletics

Name: Sarah Finnegan
Bio: Finnegan is a former U.S. elite gymnast and current NCAA gymnastics star at LSU. The highlight of her elite gymnastics career is when she was named to the 2012 Olympic team as an alternate, making her the second Filipino of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics training squad, as Kyla Ross was the first. She’s from St. Louis, where she began the sport. Her mom, Linabelle, from whom she gets her Filipino heritage from, put her older sister in the sport, and she also wanted to try it. After the 2008 Olympics, the Finnegan family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, so she could chase her Olympic dream and train at Great American Gymnastics Express, gym of Olympians Courtney McCool and Terin Humphrey.

In 2012, she became an Olympic contender, known for her balance beam and floor exercise work and elegant, artistic gymnastics. Injuries prevented her from competing at the elite level following 2012, and in 2015, she joined the LSU Tigers gymnastics program on a full scholarship. At LSU, her well-executed and beautiful gymnasts shine. Now in her final year at LSU, she’s one of the best NCAA gymnasts in the world.
Currently/Previously: Senior gymnast at LSU

  • 2018 NCAA Championships – 4th team, 7th BB, 8th all-around
  • 2018 NCAA Regionals – 1st team, all-around, and floor; 2nd balance beam, 3rd uneven bars
  • 2018 SEC Championships – 1st team and all-around
  • Perfect 10.0 on bars and beam on March 17, 2018
  • Perfect 10.0 on floor on March 4, 2018
  • 2017 NCAA Championships – 1st uneven bars, 2nd team, 3rd floor exercise, 4th all-around, 8th balance beam
  • 2017 NCAA Regionals – 1st team, all-around, and uneven bars
  • 2017 SEC Championships – 1st team
  • 2016 NCAA Championships – 2nd team, 4th uneven bars
  • 2012 Olympic team alternate
  • 2012 Olympic Trials – 5th balance beam, 4th floor exercise, 6th all-around
  • 2012 Visa Championships – 2nd balance beam, 4th floor exercise, 6th all-around
  • 2010 Pan American Championships – 1st team, 3rd balance beam

Photo credit Christy Ann Linder

Name: Emma Malabuyo
Bio: Malabuyo is a rising Filipino-American elite gymnast whose goal is to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. She is a two-time U.S. National Team member who excels on balance beam and floor exercise. Born in California, Malabuyo began the sport because she enjoyed flipping and climbing around the house and watching videos of the sport. After moving to Texas, she decided to train at Texas Dreams Gymnastics and began her elite career in 2015.

Since then, Malabuyo has represented the U.S. in several international competitions but has yet to receive an international assignment as a senior elite gymnast who is eligible to compete at World Championships and the Olympics. As of late August, Malabuyo is recovering from an injury that prevented her from competing in the national championships and making the national team. She has verbally committed to UCLA to compete for the Bruins gymnastics team following her high school graduation.

  • 2018 City of Jesolo Trophy – 1st AA, BB, and FX
  • 2017 International Junior Gymnastics Competition –  1st FX, 2nd AA and BB, 3rd VT and UB
  • 2017 P&G Gymnastics Championships – 1st FX, 2nd AA and UB, 3rd VT, 4th BB
  • 2017 Gymnix International Junior Cup – 1st team, VT
  • 2016 Gymnix International Junior Cup – 1st team, BB, and FX; 3rd AA

Photo credit Axel Lopez/Daily Bruin

Name: Kyla Ross
Bio: Ross is arguably the most famous and successful Filipino-American gymnast, rising to fame after winning the Team USA’s first gold medal in the women’s gymnastics team competition on international soil at the 2012 London Olympics with the “Fierce Five.” She was born in Hawai’i to Jason and Kiana Ross and gets her Filipino heritage from her Filipino and Puerto Rican mom. Ross is known for her clean and artistic gymnastics that have made her a legendary reliable competitor in elite and collegiate gymnastics. After winning the 2018 NCAA Championships with her UCLA Bruins team, she is the first female gymnast to ever win Olympic, World, and NCAA Championships.
Currently/Previously: Junior gymnast at UCLA

  • 2018 NCAA Championships – 1st team, 2nd BB, 3rd UB, 4th AA
  • Perfect 10.0 on bars in March 2018
  • 2018 Pac-12 Championships – 1st AA and UB
  • 2017 NCAA Championships – 1st VT and BB, 4th team, 6th AA
  • 2017 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year
  • 2017 Pac-12 Championships – 1st BB
  • Perfect 10.0 on beam in March 2017
  • 2014 World Championships – 1st team, 3rd AA, 6th BB
  • 2013 Longines Prize for Elegance at the World Championships
  • 2013 World Championships – 2nd AA, UB, and BB; 5th FX
  • 2012 Olympic gold medalist – team competition
  • 2012 Olympic team member



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