Miss Oahu 2018

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Miss Oahu 2018

Ja’Nae Richie

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    Senior Ja’Nae Richie put her poise to the test on Oct. 22 when she competed in the Miss Paradise Hawaii, Miss Oahu and Miss Waikiki Scholarship Pageant 2018, ultimately winning the title of Miss Oahu 2018. The competitors represented a wide range of personalities, but the opportunities for learning and growth were universal.

     “It’s definitely something that I think you want to experience because it opens your eyes to connections to many new people who are different than you are. It helps you develop skills for your success in the future, as well as letting you experience many new, different things,” said Richie.

    The pageant was a preliminary to the Miss Hawaii, Miss America and eventually Miss Universe Pageants. Much preparation went into gaining her crown. “Different steps we went through were preparation, a lot of practice, long hours, the driving downtown—I had school, practice and work at one point, so it was kind of difficult,” said Richie.

    The girls underwent three sections of judging: walking, talent and a private interview, with contestants advocating for an issue of their choosing. Richie’s platform was strengthening early childhood education. “I do believe that we should have more early childhood programs such as ‘Headstart’ and things like that because they need to tailor to all children—like people who can’t afford it. A lot of kids, they can’t go to preschool because their parents can’t afford it. They shouldn’t be punished, necessarily, for their circumstances,” said Richie.

     Despite common misconceptions regarding the pageanting industry, Richie was surprised to see how much she enjoyed the experience. “The different perceptions of how it’s stereotyped, like world peace and little stuff like that, it’s not really true,” said Richie. “All the experiences that went along with it, I was very blessed to have those experiences.”

    Beauty, while playing a part in the pageant, was far from being the deciding factor. “We all looked different, there was different body types. I think that it was more stressed the way you present yourself, and your personality and how smart you were, because like I said it’s very hard work,” said Richie.

    Richie’s hard work paid off in more ways than one. She is particularly grateful for the relationships she established with other contestants. “We did a girls night, we went to Dave & Buster’s. We had a limo and dinner and all that. I made really good friends that I still talk to now,” said Richie.

    Leilehua High School Senior Glynnis Brasher, one of Richie’s friends, took the contest as an opportunity to better herself. “I’ve gained a lot of confidence from this experience but also a lot of new friendships with wonderful ladies who all have good intentions. Everyone was very friendly to each other and all rooting for one another. Even though we were all going for the crown, we all wanted someone other than ourselves to win. My money was on Katrina and Ja’Nae,” said Brasher.

     Miss Waikiki 2018 Katrina Ildefonso had a similar perspective on the pageant’s benefits. “This experience really abled me to build my self confidence, widen my social horizons, and bring awareness to social issues such as bullying, which is my platform,” said Ildefonso.

    Richie plans to continue on with the pageant procession until she cannot advance any further. “Because it is a preliminary pageant I do still want to strive to do my best and hopefully place or win Miss Hawaii as well,” said Richie. She has already begun seeking out financial supporters. “I’m definitely finding people from the last pageant that I have made connections with that are willing to sponsor me, that are willing to support me, like people in my church as well as different businesses,” said Richie.

    The Miss Hawaii competition will take place in June 2018, but regardless of the outcome, Richie plans to put her Miss Oahu 2018 scholarship winnings towards a college degree in hospitality and hotel administration.