LIHU‘E — Greeted by a crowd of well-wishers, Topaz Fernandez returned to Kaua‘i Sunday evening with something the Garden Isle has not seen in almost two decades: the crown and sash of 2011 Miss Hawai‘i Filipina.
The Kaua‘i High School graduate and former Red Raiders cheerleader earned her award during the Hawai‘i Filipino Community Council state convention on O‘ahu. She edged out Miss O‘ahu Filipina, Leonevi Mabiog, a 2008 Kapa‘a High School graduate, and Miss Maui Filipina, Shelby Bastilan.
Liza Trinidad, president of the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council, said Fernandez earned the Best in Swimsuit en route to her state title.
Crowned earlier this year as Miss Kaua‘i Filipina 2011, Topaz walked off the stage with a $10,000 scholarship, $2,000 in cash awards and a trip to the Philippines, among her winnings, Trinidad said.
“This is the first time in almost 20 years we’ve had a Miss Kaua‘i Filipina become the state queen,” said Angel Acorda of the KFCC who accompanied the group to O‘ahu. “Our last queen who became Miss Hawai‘i Filipina was Ruth Coller who got the crown in 1991.”
Trinidad said with Fernandez advancing to the state queen position, according to the rules of the Miss Kaua‘i Filipina Scholarship Pageant, the first runner-up, 2011 Kapa‘a High School graduate Nicolette Levinthol, will assume the title of 2011 Miss Kaua‘i Filipina.
The daughter of Nicholas Levinthol and Loida Bombay, Levinthol was the first in line to offer the 2011 Miss Hawai‘i Filipina a lei and congratulatory hug Sunday at the Lihu‘e Airport, unleashing the crowd of well-wishers including her cheer squad sisters and coaches.