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Ten vie for ths year's Miss Samoa title

APIA, SAMOA  — This year’s annual beauty pageant, Miss Samoa, is a hallmark event representing an appreciation of the beauty and essence of the Samoan woman, and celebrating the richness of Samoa's heritage and culture with the theme “We are Samoa”.


The major sponsor of the pageant is McDonald’s Family Restaurant, with president and owner of McDonald’s, Tautolo Charlie Tautolo saying sponsoring this pageant is a “well done” investment.


There are ten contestants vying to be this year’s  this year’s Miss Samoa, and they are expected to emerge as role models for the younger generation; to represent a variety of professions, attitudes, skills and interests, and also to be spokeswomen of the Samoan culture.


According to the Miss Samoa website, “ultimately, the delegates personify the combination of beauty and intelligence that define the Samoan Lady of the 21st Century and the pageant sets out to accomplish this by encouraging, motivating and guiding the delegates in promoting their Samoan beauty, culture, costumes and performing arts.


The ten contestants are Miss Polynesian Shipping Line, Josephine Mafoa; Miss Thomsen’s Bridal Couture, Faalagilagi Vaifale Tuisalega Farani; Miss Le Spa Lelalelei o Samoa, Monica Giselle Sene Schwenke; Miss Moataga Enterprises, Tu’utasio Aiga Jessica Taulaga; Miss Samoa Australia, Tusipepa Sandra Lilomaiava; Miss Veronica’s, Tili Lafaele; Miss Lavashe Couture, Monica Tuaimau Evans; Miss SuperKidz Samoa Foundation, Fa’ailoga Leagiagi Leota;  Miss My Tiara’s Boutique, Cheyenne Faapaia Maiava and Miss Samoa New Zealand, Latafale Auva’a.


The following are the first five interviews of the Miss Samoa contestants, with the remaining five to follow this week.


The pageant is set to be held on Sept. 6, in front of the government building in Apia. The Miss Samoa Pageant 2014 program officially began on Monday (Samoa time) with a full week of events to follow. Among those events, the contestants will visit the hospital’s pediatric ward and the Mapuifagalele home of the elderly.


In June 2014, Tautolo, who owns branches of McDonald’s family restaurants in both Samoa and American Samoa, presented WST $105,000 to Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Lupesoliai Malielegaoi to become the major sponsor for the pageant, which is considered one of the keystones of Samoa’s tourism event — Moso’oi Week.




Lagi Lealaitafea Tuisalega Farani was born in NZ but spent most of her childhood in Samoa learning the arts of our culture through her late grandmother Faalagilagi Lealaitafea, who was an expert with siapo and ie toga maoi.


Growing up in a family which was strong in its traditional values and Christian faith has strengthened her as a proud Samoan woman. She’s a graduate from the University of Auckland, where she holds a Bachelors Degree in Arts majoring in Political Science and Film Media Studies. She’s currently at the Auckland University of Technology completing her post graduate in Business. “I believe that education has given me the power to think clearly, to act well in the world’s work and appreciate life.” Last year she acted in the film called “Naomi”, a stage play in Auckland called “Mau and the Visitor” and appeared on NZ commercials such as Telecom and a TV drama called “The Lost One”.


“My aspirations in life are to always challenge myself, to utilize my skills, to respect and value people and to inspire them to do their best.”




Tili Lafaele comes from a family of six children and she’s the fourth from the eldest. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University in Hawaii, majoring in Pacific Island Studies with a minor in Psychology. “I worked at a tourist attraction, Polynesian Cultural Center, in Hawaii for three years where I had the opportunity to share my culture with people of other ethnicities.”


Ms Lafaele loves singing, dancing, laughter, making friends and doing photo shoots in her spare time.  She’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and says “I love being a Mormon.” She’s always wanted to be in the Miss Samoa Pageant and now that she’s participating, “I am very honored and excited to be a contestant this year.”




Tusipepa Sandra Lilomaiava comes from humble beginnings where strong Christian values and her Samoan aiga have shaped the tama’ita’i Samoa that she is today.


“My life has been influenced by a passion for my cultural heritage to learn and grow in my Fa’a Samoa. I am very proud to be a Samoan woman and cherish the qualities of a tama’ita’i Samoa.”


Her journey in life has been about “embracing our Samoan traditions, that is an evolving culture which thrives in the hearts of its people wherever they may be.”


Tusipepa was born in Auckland, New Zealand, but has lived most of her life in Brisbane, Australia. “Living away from Samoa I am exposed to diverse cultures from around the world, however, I hold steadfast to the love I have for my Samoa.” She holds a Bachelor of Human Services majoring in Children and Family Studies from Griffith University which she obtained in 2012. “I believe in the values of our forefathers and mothers, that in order to be a great leader one must serve.


“I play an active role in cultural and community based initiatives in Australia, where I represent the Samoan community at local and state level engagements in numerous University and Government based events.” Ms Lilomaiava currently teaches, specializing in Learning Support. “I am a firm believer that education is an investment in yourself, community and country” and she quoted Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”




Cheyenne Fa'apaia Maiava, 23 an American-born, Fiji-raised Samoan, with most of her schooling years spent in Fiji, officially finished her high school education with Samoa College in 2007.


In that same year, she was crowned Miss Teen Samoa and was blessed to have her tuition for Foundation at NUS paid and sponsored by TV3.


Soon after, her journey as a missionary began, in 2010 she joined a Non-profit Christian organization called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). “My first mission trip was to the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. For two years I served with YWAM, until 2012 where I found myself back in Fiji to further my education at The University of The South Pacific. I am a Psychology major, minoring in Sociology.” She’s also interested in dancing, reading, singing, scripture and writing.




Latafale Auva’a comes from a strong Christian family and she’s the youngest of four.


Winning a Scholarship to attend King’s College she graduated as Deputy Head of her school and the University of Auckland's Top Pacific Chancellor Award but opted to attend the University of Otago on the Faculty of Law’s Prestigious 5-year Scholarship and the University's Top Pacific Entrance Award.


Ms Auva’a is currently studying for a double degree in Law and Music. She has represented New Zealand in singing with the New Zealand Secondary Students’ Choir and is now in the National Youth Choir.  She has competed for New Zealand and demonstrated Samoan color involved in Church Ministries all her life.  She is currently the music director for a small Presbyterian church called Student Soul.


The motto that she lives by is from Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and she believes in making the very best of opportunities presented in life.