Pageant contestants reveal their light hearted side during news conference
Bios for the ten contestants of the 2012 McDonald’s Miss South Pacific Pageant are impressive, clearly showing that they are much more than just beauty queens, they are educated and involved in community projects in their own respective countries and islands.
But what do they do for fun and could they tell us something fun about themselves?
This was one of three main question categories asked of the contestants during a news conference earlier this week. The responses — which brought a lot of laughter from the audience— clearly shows that the young ladies are also outgoing individuals, many of whom enjoy sports.
However, there was also an emotional moment in a response from one of the contestants, who recalled that her role model — her father — had passed away suddenly.
“I love my sports. My favorite sports would be basketball—even though we don’t have it in Tokelau, and I will prepare that when I get back—and netball,” said Peti Teata. “I love swimming. The beach is right outside of my house in Tokelau.”
With a smile on her face, Teata said that upon arriving home from work, she would “jump into the water”. Her other fun things are “socializing with my people” including the elders in her family, and playing the guitar, which she said she loves to do.
“I’m a child of the ocean,” declared Drue Slatter who grew up on the Coral Coast on the main island of Viti Levu. She is a certified dive master and worked for a year as a dive guide and dive master for a tourist company. She said she was the only female dive master in this “male dominated” career.
“So when I entered Miss Fiji, they asked me, ‘so are you going to wear a wetsuit on stage? You’re not going to wear a dress, it’s not really you’” she said to laughter from the audience. “So I think that is the most significant part of my personality.”
She went on to say that scuba diving is “her true love at the moment” and “I would love to see more Fijian women” in this field.
“I also play guitar, like my sister here [from Tokelau]. We’re probably going to have a jam-session sometime soon,” she noted, followed by more laughter from the audience and other contestants.
Kate Ngatokorua was born and grew up on the island of Mangaia, which is also where she attended school. “There are more wild pigs there [on Mangaia] than people,” she smiled, as the audience laughed. She also said that she had to pick up the chores of her older brothers, who moved away. She said she didn’t like it at the time, but “right now I actually like going into the taro patch and feeding pigs.”
“I can open a coconut with my hands. And that’s pretty unbelievable,” she said with a giggle in her voice.
MISS HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
“I love my sports, just like Miss Tokelau,” said Joy Saleapaga. “I feel like my dad’s son growing up. All he wanted was to play sports.”
“Something about me? I don’t know if you notice, that I talk a lot,” she said and the audience laughed. “It’s hard to believe but I love to talk. I love to make friends. I love to learn and I love people.”
“Growing up, my family used to call me CNN. I don’t know why!” she said to more laughter from the audience and other contestants.
Ebony Nuku said she’s not sure what to say about herself adding that “I’m an average person, I think I’m a boring person”. The audience giggled. She added that she “loves watching movies, I love hanging out with my family. I love kids, I actually adore kids.”
“One thing I have a passion for is Polynesian music and dance. I dance Tongan, Samoan and Tahitian,” she said, but was quick to point out that she has not yet mastered the dances of Tokelau and Fiji and she hopes her sisters from these two countries will help her out during the pageant.
MISS PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Ruby-Anne Laufa said she too loves sports and that she was raised very close to her father, who is a “very good influence in my life” and “we played, rugby, [English] cricket, basketball.”
“I’m very competitive when it comes to sports, and I think I get that from him (her father). We have so many fights over sports as well,” she said adding that she “loves outdoor activities.”
MISS AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
Marlena Martin said she grew up in a small village and that she along with her cousins would ride horses, feed the pigs, and ‘everything like that’. She recalled something out of the ordinary for her was a “fun run” and her team decided to put on blue paint and white hats and dress up like “smurfs”.
“It was something interesting,” she said to laughter from the audience.
MISS SOLOMON ISLANDS
Stephanie Prince says her family owns a fiberglass business, which she took an interest in and worked in the office as a receptionist as well as helping out in the business yard. The business was owned by her father, who is “my role model,” said Prince, who then stopped.
“He suddenly passed away last year,” she continued in a quivering voice as she slowly wiped away tears on her cheeks.
“He had the heart for others and I grew up believing in that. I hope that I can fulfill his wish in my journey in life and in the... pageant,” she said.
MISS AMERICAN SAMOA
“Something fun that I do. .is that I go hiking” said Arrielle Maloata, who added that she hikes with her brothers on the National Park trail. Additionally, she plays “ alot of sports” such as volleyball and basketball.
“I love to sing, and I enjoy spending time at my church with my youth group,” said the U.S. Army Reservist, who added that she enjoys being a “solider”, which is something, that she is “very proud of—representing the U.S. Army as well as American Samoa and the Pacific as a whole.”
“...although I’m a soldier fighting for freedom, I’m also fighting for peace and peace represents the South Pacific,” she said. “And something that you’ll never know—I drive [military] tanks and trucks...in convoys” she said to laughter from the audience.
Growing up in Samoa, Janine Tuivaiti said she was an “average teenager” and pointed out that—like the other contestants—she also loves sports. “What you don’t know, is that I’m not good at it,” she said with a smile and the laughter erupted from the audience.
“I love participating in sports” and she recently tried her best in participating in soccer which she ended up with bruises, thanks to the pupils there, she said.
“Something fun about me — I love music. I grew up in a musical family” with three older sisters, who also enjoy music, she added.