Pretty in Green
Wu, Nina, Honolulu Star - Advertiser
The Miss Earth Hawaii beauty pageant has much of the same glamour and glitz of other competitions with contestants strutting across the stage in swimsuits and evening gowns.
But they must also spend three minutes talking about the environment and adopt an environmental platform.
"We're really looking for an ambassador for the environment, a beautiful female who cares about where she lives as far as her natural environment," said pageant director Aureana Tseu, the 2009 Miss Hawaii, who knows a little something about pageants.
Honolulu will host the Miss Earth USA pageant for the first time Sept. 1 at the Ala Moana Hotel. The event is expected to attract 30 contestants from across the nation.
Earlier that day a dozen or so Hawaii contestants will vie for the title of Miss Earth Hawaii, the first time the islands are participating in the Miss Earth pageant.
The newly crowned Miss Earth Hawaii, along with four others to be selected Miss Air Hawaii, Miss Water Hawaii, Miss Fire Hawaii and Miss Eco Hawaii, will go on to compete in the national pageant that evening.
Miss Earth Hawaii will receive a $50,000 scholarship to attend Argosy University, while the others receive cash prizes up to $7,000. All get a sash and crown madefrom recycled metals and gems representing their natural elements.
The pageant has attracted a diverse pool of candidates, Tseu said, including many first-timers and women who would not normally have been interested in such contests.
Elise MacLean, 25, is a North Shore model and pastry chef who recently graduated from Gros Bonnet Culinary Arts in Honolulu. She said she has never competed in a beauty pageant before but was intrigued by the opportunity.
She is promoting the farm-to-table movement as her environmental platform.
"I really want to focus on teaching kids where their food comes from," said MacLean, who cultivates a home garden. "In Hawaii I also?believe that we need to protect our undeveloped land because we have a limited amount of space here, and I?think we have to protect places that are unique."
Elizabeth Viernes, 22, of Kapolei wants to highlight how technology can help the environment. The engineer and University of Hawaii graduate became interested in environmental issues after a trip to the Philippines where the overabundance of trash left an impression.
Jhordan Joshua, 18, a Moanalua High School graduate, wants to raise awareness of how beach litter affects marine life. …