Kashimoto Places Top 15 at Royal International Miss Pageant

Mina Pecoraro, Reporter

     The Royal International Miss Pageant Competition (RIM) takes place annually in Orlando, Fla. Featuring participants from all around the world, RIM’s mission is to cultivate young girls’ talents, teach public speaking skills as well as build long lasting friendships throughout the competition. This past summer, Junior Ariana Kashimoto competed at RIM, representing Hawai’i as Royal International Miss Hawai’i Teen and placed in the top 15. Her intense training prior to competing and the memories she made at RIM made for an unforgettable experience that taught her many important life skills.

     “Royal International Miss was a great experience and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world. I learned a lot, made tons of new friends, and left a whole new person.” said Kashimoto. 

      Practicing at Applause Performance Academy, Kashimoto prepared a ‘walk’ routine in which she had a template walk routine and had to add poses and different elements to make her performance unique. She accredits her friend Naia Torres, a former pageant winner at the National American Miss Pageant, as being her mentor and for giving her advice throughout the training process. “I felt I wasn’t seasoned in pageants so I was like, ‘What can I do?’ I didn’t know how to work a buttcape well so she taught me certain moves and gave me pointers on my walk. ” said Kashimoto. 

     The judging process consisted of rubrics that were unique to each walk, meaning precise technique points had to be mastered in order to score well. Fingers, for example, had to be tucked so that the thumbs could not be seen. Besides technique, personality also was a huge factor in the judging. “You have to be peppy and upbeat and they judge you on energeticness.” said Kashimoto. 

     Another critical part of the competition was the introduction portion in which the competitors have to recite a 60 second speech about themselves to the judges. Through preparing for the speech and interview portion, the girls learned public speaking skills that they can use in the future for jobs and other opportunities. For Kashimoto, the most stressful part about preparing for RIM was memorizing her speech. “Mine was my lock screen for a really long time. The intro just gives you a brief summary of yourself. They take notes on your intro and then immediately after that, they take you into your private interview which is where they ask you about things you said in your intro.” says Kashimoto.

     Aside from learning how to pageant walk and perfecting her public speaking skills, participating in RIM was life changing for Kashimoto because of the connections she made with the other pageant girls, who were from all around the world. “I made friends with (girls from) Australia, Keystone State, Pennsylvania, Midwestern State, Golden State, Grand-Canyon State, there was South Africa, there was China, there was Haiti — that was cool.” said Kashimoto. 

     The RIM program allows many opportunities for the competitors to socialize with one another; themed parties were a common event at RIM, taking place almost every day. The RIM program focuses on making lasting friendships so the parties played a big role in establishing these ties. “We could hang out and make friends and get to know each other more. But for other ones, you’d have to sit with your team so you got to get to know your own team well as well so it was really nice.” says Kashimoto. “We would have parties every night that were themed so I’d have like a luau party and then like Christmas in July and stuff like that so I’d have to plan out my exact outfits that I would wear everyday and every night.”

     Because she didn’t have lots of pageant experience, Kashimoto had to train hard before competing at RIM. However, her hard work paid off and she was able to place top 15. “Being able to go out there and do a new experience in a place that you haven’t been and you’ve never done it before (that was my first international level pageant) that was surreal to me. I didn’t expect it to be so genuine.”

     From stressful practices to performing to making lasting friendships with people from all around the world, Kashimoto’s experience at Royal International Miss was an unforgettable experience for her and she is very grateful that she got to compete. She hopes to participate in another pageant next year.