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Former Miss South Pacific Reflects on the Pageants Future

By Lagi Keresoma.

APIA, SAMOA – 03 FEBRUARY 2023: The former Miss South Pacific, Lupe Ane Kenape Aumavae believes that the pageant remains a powerful platform for Pacific women’s voices to be heard.

Lupe is the head judge for the Miss Pacific pageant with the finals at Gym One tonight.

The Miss American Samoa won the Miss South Pacific title in 2002.

Speaking to Talamua after the contestants pre-pageant interviews at the Lava Hotel, she noted that the contestants numbers have dropped to only 5 countries and she puts it down to the impact of COVID-19.

“It is not just the Pacific region but the entire world is trying to pick up after COVID-19,” she said.

pageant Lupe
pageant Lupe

Miss South Pacific 2002/2003, Lupe Ane Kenape Aumavae of American Samoa.

Looking back 20 years, the number of contestants reached 10 or 12, and although there are only 5 contestants this year, she believes it does not take away the importance and value of the pageant.

“The pageant is not just a showcase of the Pacific womens beauty but a platform where they can promote their culture and traditions, their identities as Pacific islanders and what the Pacific is all about,” said Lupe Ane Kenape Aumavae.

She said there have been a lot of changes in that sense but believes the basics remain the same.

“Back in our time, it was just the Miss South Pacific but that changed recently and was opened up to other Pacific islands and it makes it a much more powerful platform for the ladies and our countries as well,” said Lupe.

This platform is an engine where the Pacific can have a collective voice in driving issues of concerns such as climate change to the world.

“I believe that the Miss Pacific Islands will return stronger and with more representatives next year,” she said.

Sitting among the judges and interviewing the contestants, Lupe said she had a few flashbacks as a contestant then.

“I had some flashbacks sitting here as the head judge looking at them and so proud to see the future of our Pacific Islands,” said Lupe.

pageant three
pageant three

Three of the contestants at the welcome reception hosted by the Minister of Tourism.

Watching them talk about developmental issues such as Education, Technology, Health, Tourism and Climate Change brought back memories of her research as a contestant then.

It has been three years since the last Miss Pacific Islands pageant because of the COVID-19. Lupe acknowledged the countries represented at the pageant and also the longest serving Miss Pacific Islands, Seumanu Fono McFarland Seumanu of Samoa.

Gearing up for tonight’s finals
It has been a week long activity for the girls starting with a church service at the Satapuala Methodist church last Sunday.

That followed with a trip to Savaii where the contestants had a chance to witness traditional siapo making and swim at some of the most clearest pools on island.

The Miss Pacific Islands Chairman who is also the Minister for Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster hosted a reception for the contestants and their chaperones.

Despite heavy rain that night, the girls enjoyed mingling with the members of the business community and invited guests at the reception.

They also had a chance to visit the Home for the Aged at Mapuifagalele and the pageant major sponsor Vodaphone Samoa.

The final day starts with a floats parade featuring each of the contestants along Beach Road before they retire to prepare for the final competition at Gym 1 at the Tuana’imato Sports Complex.

The Contestants:
Kauhani Meaalofa Fuimaono – Miss American Samoa
Josie Nicolas – Miss Papua New Guinea
Alexandra Melody Pitcher – Miss Nauru
Tiare Haro – Miss Solomon Islands
Haylani Pearl Kurupu – Miss Samoa