BY MIRIAM LANDRU – On Saturday evening at the Hawaii Convention Center, 12 accomplished and beautiful ladies from around the state competed for the title of Miss Hawaii 2011. The contestants were judged on five areas: Interview, Talent, Physical Fitness, Poise, and On-Stage question.
The Miss Hawaii program should not be thought of as a beauty pageant, but a scholarship program providing thousands of dollars to hard working, well rounded young women in efforts to continue their education. “I’ve received $83,000 in scholarship money from the Miss America program, so I am going back to HPU to begin my Masters in Social Work to become a counselor,” confirmed Jalee Fuselier, Miss Hawaii 2010 and Miss America 2011 2nd runner up.
Lauren Kealohilani Cheape 23, Miss East Oahu, in her fourth year competing in Miss Hawaii, walked away with the crown and scholarship awards totaling almost $7,000. She also won the swimsuit competition. “Words cannot express how I feel right now in representing this great state. I’ve worked very hard over the last year,” said Cheape.
Cheape hails from Mililani. She is a University of Hawaii graduate, Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and minored in Business and Japanese. She was a college athlete who competed on the UH Water Polo and Swim team. Cheape also wrote and directed a film titled “Ling hing mui, Lilikoi, Lychee,” which was shown at HIFF, Shanghai International Film Festival, as well as the Los Angeles International Film Festival.
Cheape also has started a charity – C.A.R.E: Collegiate Athletes Reaching Everyone. C.A.R.E. is meant to “utilize the talents and gifts of college athletes to encourage children to stay in school, stay active, and live healthy lives,” said Cheape. The C.A.R.E plan was adopted two years ago at the University of Hawaii. Now, every student athlete at UH contributes a minimum of six hours per week to public elementary school service. Cheape hopes that soon C.A.R.E. will become an NCAA charity.
Cheape also raised $13,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, the official charity of the Miss America program and in turn received the Miss Hawai’i Community Service Scholarship.
Cheape’s commitment to serving Hawai’i is clear as she begins her journey to the Miss America Competition next January in Las Vegas.