The Hilo Style Pageant Life

By: Jenn K

When I was 17, my mother signed me up for a summer class with Barbizon.  Unbeknownst to me, she thought I needed (a lot of) help with makeup and hair techniques as well as other less-tomboy attributes.  Not that I was a tomboy but, as science proved later on, I had an above average level of testosterone in my system which prevented me from entertaining the ‘80s concept of beauty.

Way back Wednesday photo of my sons Cullen, Xave, and Evan.

As the mother of three sons, I never have to think about such things as makeup, feminine hygiene, and perfect posture when guiding them through life.  I did have to learn boy things, which happened to be a lot easier.  When they started dating, I recognized a lot of their differences, similarities, and idiosyncrasies when it came to fashion, makeup, and hair care.  I realized that what my mother had in me, I didn’t have for myself:   A daughter to do fun girl things with….but let me be clear, I didn’t and don’t want a daughter.  Thankfully, I know a lot of people with daughters that I’ve gotten to know and been having fun getting to know.

Kili's winning artwork which will adorn the cover of next year's Waiakea Waena Elementary's planners.

One such girl is Kilinahe Arquero.  A beautiful and adventurous 10-year-old whom I’ve gotten to know through purchasing delicious Girl Scout cookies from as well as speaking with her most amazing mom, Tammy.  Very recently, Kili became interested in pageant life and has entered the Young Miss Lehua Hawaii competition.  With so many pageant reality shows and other documentaries I’ve watched on cable TV, this decision of hers intrigued me!

Kili reading what was made to ask Tui to be her escort.

Today I had the privilege of sitting with Kili and Tammy to find out what it’s like for someone so young to be interested in something seemingly competitive.  Kili had the perfect response, “I want to make more friends and learn new experiences”.

Kili and Shylah (foreground) were lovingly adopted into the Arquero `ohana.

It started with a question at the dinner table – “Who wants to be in a pageant?”.  It lead to contacting friends involved with different pageant choices around town.  Kili met with the Queen of Hearts organization and then organizers of Lehua Hawaii Productions.

Andrews Volleyball Team

For the past several weeks, Kili and her pageant sisters have been learning all about fashion, beauty, community service, and other important aspects of being a young woman growing up in this generation.  They are taught about relationships and something one might never think to talk about to a girl so young – human trafficking.  Kili finds everything about the workshops educational and eye-opening. 

Biological siblings Shylah, Tiani, Tui, Kilinahe

Kili and other pageant participants will run through a series of phases that include an interview, a talent, a country to represent, and evening gown.  She is grateful for her fabulous Uncle Slugger who provided her with the dresses for almost every phase.  She also has an aunt that returned from Korea with a traditional outfit when she represents her country of choice.

Gorgeous kids!

One of the most important phases of this pageant journey is being responsible for following a signed contract, especially for something that can become rather pricey.   The concept of sponsors as well as the simple kindness of relatives and friends help to make the process a lot easier.  Kili also had to obtain ads for the pageant program and sell tickets to the event.  She currently has tickets to sell so please leave a comment below the article for information on how to purchase them.  They are only $10 each! 


Tammy assured me that this process is nothing like that of reality TV shows.  She is allowing her daughter to do what she feels would fulfill her life and is leaving everything else to God.   She is an incredible mom!


Please join me in support of Kili and her pageant sisters as they vie for the crown on Saturday, July 23rd, 6:30 pm., at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Doors open at 5:45 pm.


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