On February 2, HBA high school students Nicole Hong (‘9) and Alexia Sommers (’10) competed in the third annual Miss Latina Hawaii Scholarship Pageant. Sommers took the award for Talent and was named Miss Congeniality. Hong won the Lifestyle and Fitness award and was named Miss Photogenic. She was also named Miss Latina Hawaii Outstanding Teen.

This pageant, like others they had entered before, focused on more than just beauty; academics and well-roundedness of each contestant were also important. Winning this pageant took more than just walking around a stage. Contestants had to earn points by training and working with the judges through events leading up to the show.

“My mom inspires me because she is my number one supporter and she works so hard for me to do pageants and everything else.”

Beginning in November, contestants attended public events, photo shoots, and private interviews with the judges. Sommers entered her first pageant when she was in sixth grade after seeing a newspaper advertisement. For her talent this pageant, Sommers performed a hula to the song Na Vaqueros by Kuana Torres Kahele.

Hong has grown more confident ever since she started competing in pageants.  “I used to have extreme stage fright and I felt like I just couldn’t do it but pageants really helped me overcome that. Now when I’m on stage I don’t feel so nervous anymore,” she said. Hong performed a salsa dance routine to Shakira’s song Addicted to You.

Pageants require a strong and positive mindset to be able to succeed. Sommers said, “When doing pageants, keeping close to God and his love inspires me to do things right and keep my values and principles. My mom inspires me because she is my number one supporter and she works so hard for me to do pageants and everything else.”

Both girls are grateful for the support they have received from family and friends. Hong said, “To all those who came to support me and even those who couldn’t make it, I couldn’t have done it without all your love and support. I would most like to thank my mom because she has been especially key in helping me with all the pageant preparations. Love you guys!”

Sommers is also grateful for those who supported her through the years she’s competed in pageants. She said, “To all my supporters, thank you. You all mean so much to me and I am blessed to have you in my life. No crown or trophy is any match to all the love and support that you guys give me. Thank you for all the support and encouragement, I really appreciate it. I love y’all! God bless.”