Miss Samoa Priscilla Paleagaese Olano is ready to do her best to make Samoa proud tomorrow night during the grand finale of the 2016 Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
As the host country, Ms. Olano knows the expectations are high but it also comes with the home crowd support other contestants don’t have.
“I’m in it to do my best for Samoa. Win or lose, we will praise God,” she tells the Samoa Observer.
The 26-year-old from the village of Lauli’i says this year’s event is the 30th year since the pageant started and with Samoa having played such a critical role in its development, it would be awesome for Samoa to win.
“Preparations are going really well so far,” she says.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research and at the moment I’m focusing on my pre-pageant interview and preparing for my talent.”
For Ms. Olano, the opportunity to share her Samoan culture with the region and the world is something to be treasured.
“I know we are the host country so it’s kind of expected that I win,” she says.
“But to be honest, I am very thankful for the opportunity for Samoa to host the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant especially as we are celebrating the 30 years since it started.
“This is an opportunity for us to showcase what we have and to be known in not just fashion but also the culture and our friendly people as well.
“I mean it’s not often we have the girls over from the different countries and I see this as a great opportunity for them to learn more about Samoa.
“So I am happy for that. And the girls being here for the pageant it makes me so proud as a Samoan. Just the fact that everyone is so interested about the fa’asamoa and our culture and way of life.
And the fact that I get to explain to them and I have that opportunity to tell them all about our culture and tradition is such a proud feeling. It makes me so happy to able to share our culture with them. It makes me a proud Samoan.”
Ms. Olano also sees this as a platform to learn about the different and diverse cultures of the Pacific.
“I haven’t been to any of their countries before and this is the best opportunity for me to learn about their culture and share our ideas about how much we love our Pacific Island culture and traditions.
“It’s a knowledge sharing opportunity and this pageant has made that possible for all of us.
For the pre-pageant interview today, Ms. Olano will be presenting on “Culture” as her main topic.
She believes her topic is vital as it links to this year’s theme which is “Celebrating our History and Embracing our Future.”
“It’s actually the same topic I picked for Miss Samoa. And at that time, I focused on the preserving our tatau and malu.
“For this one, it’s going to cover the region and diversity of culture within the Pacific. It focuses on our culture and traditions from the past and how we can carry that on and pass it down from one generation to the other.
“For example, I am a modern Samoa like a lot of the young people and there’s a lot of history that we don’t know about.
For instance, the malu and the tatau; I didn’t know it’s significance until I talked to the Tufuga and he told me the meaning and the stories behind all the patterns and how the art of tattoo can help preserve our culture.
“And then I realized that a lot of the young people today are getting it just for decorations kind of thing.
And they’ve lost that value, as much as the practice is still alive, it’s the value behind it that you want to preserve. So that’s basically the idea behind my topic, it’s about preserving the value of our culture for our future generations.”
Finally, Priscilla wants to get her message across to the people of Samoa that she will do her best for our country.
“I’m in it to do my best for Samoa. Win or lose, we will praise God.
“I would also want to thank everyone for the support, and all I ask for is that you all keep me in your prayers and continue to support me.
“Also keep in mind that I am giving my 100 percent to this pageant for you. This is for our country and I will do my best, and will let God do the rest. And all I want to do right now is to make you proud.”