She's young, pretty and ready to take on the world.
Beauty queen Amily Helena Faleafaga has just been crowned Miss Samoa New Zealand and will compete with others from around the globe for the main title in Apia in September.
The 19-year-old will compete against winners from Australia, the United States, Hawaii and American Samoa for the coveted Miss Teuila title.
Amily will represent the 131,000 Samoans living in New Zealand.
"Becoming Miss Samoa New Zealand has changed everything," she says.
"It’s been such an experience."
Amily won the traditional wear and puletasi, or Samoan style two-piece categories in the Kiwi heats at the Telstra Clear Events Centre on May 10.
She faced stiff competition including fellow west Aucklander Melissa Williams who came second.
"I was shocked to win," the Massey resident says.
"I thought Melissa had won. After I realised it was me, I thought: ‘Thank the Lord’."
The travel and tourism student at Henderson’s Unitec campus is keen to keep learning.
"As a modern woman I would like to learn more about my culture," Amily says. "I love how Samoans are really close within families – we all stick together as one."
Her dream of becoming a flight attendant is on hold while she fulfils her duties.
She takes the role seriously.
"A modern Samoan woman is someone who has the knowledge and the leadership," Amily says.
"She has self-direction in life and knows where to go and sets a standard for other young Samoan women."
The former St Dominic’s College student admits she is shy but likes to have fun and feels strongly about abortion.
"As a Catholic, I’m really against abortion.
"I would like to promote the issue and the consequences by going to schools and talking about it."
The 1.75-metre New Zealand-born sportswoman looks forward to her big night in Samoa.
"At the end of the day I hope to say I did a good job," she says.
Pageant spokeswoman Te’eva Tagaloa-Leniu says Amily captures the essence of a Miss Samoa.
"She’s definitely beautiful," she says.
"It was her presentation that won on the night. Amily is a lovely girl and holds herself really well."
- Western Leader
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