Emma Wo was crowned the new Miss Hawaii USA, while Kyla Hee captured the Miss Hawaii Teen USA title on Sunday at the JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa.
The 24-year-old Wo, a PR account executive and model, is the daughter of Kitty and Buzz Wo, (local business leaders and philanthropists). She also won the Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2008 pageant and will represent Hawaii at the next Miss USA pageant. She aspires to own her own PR and marketing firm specializing in fashion.
The 17-year-old Hee, who will represent Hawaii in the next Miss Teen USA pageant, is a student at Mid-Pacific Institute and would like to become an actress and entrepreneur. Her parents are Mark Hee, and Luana Alapa who won the Miss Hawaii crown in 1987.
We had a chance to chat with the new title holders:
When did you know you wanted to compete for this pageant?
Wo: When I was Miss Hawaii Teen USA in 2008 I knew back then that I wanted to do what I could to give back to the community, and one way to reach even more people is to become Miss Hawaii USA someday.
Hee: Up until recently, I didn’t think this was for me. My confidence wasn’t there, and it could have been because of my dyslexia; I thought I wasn’t good enough. But prepping for this has given me newfound confidence, and I feel like I am really becoming the person that I was meant to be.
Besides winning the title, what has been the best part of your experience?
Wo: It has been my family, no doubt. I couldn’t have done this without them. They’ve been there for me through everything, from the time I competed for this title two years ago, they’ve helped me emotionally, financially and mentally. I’ve also enjoyed growing with the other contestants and have made many new friends.
Hee: My family. I couldn’t have done this without them. They have calmed me down when I needed their strength. They’ve supported me and helped me to be more confident and to believe in myself. I also loved that two of the other contestants were my friends from middle school. It was great to spend time with them, and make new friends.
A little about the 2014 title holders…
The outgoing Miss Hawaii USA Moana Hara is no stranger to competition, prior to winning the 2014 title, she was Hawaii’s Most Outstanding Teen in 2007. Since then she has gone on to model locally and internationally. She continues her community service raising awareness about dyslexia.
The outgoing Miss Hawaii Teen USA Mariah Gosling is an avid runner and a former high school valedictorian who aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon. She will continue her studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.