VIDEO: MISS AMERICAN SAMOA PAGEANT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES — PART 2
The newly crowned Miss American Samoa, Eleitino Ma'aelopa Tuiasosopo is not wasting any time as she is already preparing for the upcoming Miss South Pacific slated for next year in Solomon Islands. In an interview with Samoa News, the newest Miss American Samoa said “what an honor to be an ambassador for American Samoa, and my heart is full of gratitude.”
A project manager with a local construction company, 2E Corporation, Eleitino said she’s keen on working with young people and hopes to pursue that goal. Eleitino 23, of Taputimu, Vatia, Nu’uuli and Ta’u, Manu’a is the daughter of Ma’aelopa Papu and Kolopa Westbrook Tuiasosopo.
The event held at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium Friday evening was packed with friends and supporters of the six contestants — Tricia Grace Vaivao, Elsie Antonina Monicke Meredith, Jessica Mele Tuiletufuga, Leataataopulematumua Ufisasa Tavete Puailoa, Frances Filifiliauro V Savusa-Savini and Eleitino Ma’aelopa Tuiasosopo.
First Runner Up was Leataataopulematumua who was also named Miss Photogenic. Frances Filifiliauro V Savusa-Savini was second runner up and won the MASI award while Elsie Monicke Meredith was named third runner up.
Jessica Tuiletufuga was named Miss Congeniality and Eleitino was named Miss Charity. The new Miss also won in the categories of Best Traditional Wear, Best Sarong, Best Formal/Evening Wear and Best Interview and was also named top winner for best overall-pre-pageant interview.
First Lady Cynthia Malala Moliga, who has partnered with Miss American Samoa Inc, gave special remarks during the pageant. She noted that she was very impressed with the young women who participated as contestants this year, and impressed with how they carried themselves, their characteristics and their individual qualities.
Mrs Moliga on behalf of the American Samoa Government and the people thanked outgoing Miss American Samoa Arrielle Maloata La’asaga Tuilefano Falealili Maloata of Malaeloa for her service to her people during her reign. Arrielle, known to many as 'Rel' in her final remarks thanked her family, church, village and all the friends who stood by her during her reign.
Eleitino thanked her sponsor, Deluxe Café, and her family and friends for their endless support.
For the sarong category, Eleitino stood tall wearing hot pink, representing the passion that she has for life and the nurturing pride that she has for the island. “Life is represented in the plumeria flowers that grow all over the islands. The smell of these beautiful flowers reminds us that American Samoa is paradise."
The lovely flowers, hand printed and strewn throughout her sarong, were reminiscent of the beauty and growth that surrounds the islands.
Nurturing pride was represented in the “malu” or tattoo design of her sarong and the malu depicted the feet of the golden plover. Local artist Mark Ashley Faulkner designed the artistic work on her sarong.
For Eleitino’s traditional wear, she displayed the pride she had in her Samoan cultural heritage and in a matter that is considered proper or much approved in the pageant's theme, “Tausa’afia le tama’ita’i Samoa” with the way she was brought up — to dress like a proper taupou.
Her outfit was a made entirely out of siapo tasina which was produced by the elei or rubbing method of siapo, hand printed with the siapo motifs. The trochus shell and coconut midrib, represented with fine lines in the design were elei’d repeatedly onto the raw u’a or barkcloth from the paper mulberry tree.
The design was then enhanced by going over the intricate lines using the paint brush from the seed of the pandanus tree which was dipped into the natural dye of the lama of black dye that is also traditionally used for tattooing the body— which fittingly is the literal translation of Eleitino’s name— to elei or tattoo the body for a girl, it is a malu; for a young man, a pe’a sogamiti.
The artistic designs of the late Adeline Pritchard Jones, daughter of the late renowned tapa artist Mary Pritchard, were used in Eleitino’s entire traditional wear. The motifs on her puletasi showed the design of the malu, which is the Samoan woman's tattoo that means to be protected and sheltered in the Samoan culture. The contrasting colors of cream and black splendidly enhanced the print of the malu design
The second puletasi she unveiled with the malu or tattoo design continued onto her new wear, showcasing the symbols of the malu, which represented the past. The designs are contemporary and reflect the young Samoan woman of today.
Her formal wear was designed by the Divas of Fashion, her aunt Lolua Langkilde with the assistance of Danielle Lang and was artistically created by Mark Ashley Faulker. During her talent Eleitino performed a monologue about creation and wars among the Samoan people.
According to Eleitino, Samoa lived in the dark during the days of old, where Samoans relied on their strength and understanding; however light entered our shores with the power of the word of God. Eleitino said to put God first and not to forget when the word of God first came to American Samoa.
The Judges for the pageant this year were Fiu Johnny Saelua, Governor's Chief of Staff and father of a former Miss American Samoa, Wilhelmina Saelua; Tavita Tautai, owner of Tautasi Rentals; Former Miss American Samoa Loralei Haleck; Veteran Nurse Tofiga Tufele; and Co-owner of FastKind loan, Sinafoa Kim.
Samoa News warmly congratulates the new Miss American Samoa and all the contestants, who gave us much to be proud of, and celebrate.