Growing up on Kauai, 11-year-old Kinohi Naihe has had dreams of becoming the next Miss America.
Now with four pageant titles under her belt, the young star aims to earn her fifth at the Miss Hawaii Junior High state pageant on Jan 3.
“She started when she was 8 years old and she started at one of the local pageants here on Kauai,” said Kinohi’s mother, Tiffany Naihe. “At first it was just to try something new, but after her second pageant, she came home and said, ‘Mom ‘I want to be Miss U.S.A.’”
Kinohi currently attends Kapaa Middle School and is looking forward to participating in the pageant. According to her mother, she has a “can do” attitude towards her competitions. When asked her favorite quotes, Kinohi responded, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.
“I believe I can achieve,” the middle schooler said.
In addition to the competition, Facebook is also holding a People’s Choice Award for the contestants. When logged onto Facebook individuals can cast their vote for a contestant by “liking” their picture. Voting started Dec. 20 and will conclude Dec. 31. The participant who receives the most likes will receive a special award at the Miss Hawaii pageant. So far, Kinohi has received the most votes.
The young pageant winner is one of three contestants in the junior division, with the other two being from the Big Island.
“I think for her it would mean that all her hard work has paid off,” Tiffany said. “It makes me very proud, win or lose, she’s always a winner in my eyes. Seeing her do something she wants to do makes me very happy.”
Through her participation in the pageant, Kinohi hopes to show people what Kauai has to offer.
“In Hawaii we have a disadvantage, as they have a lot of training where they are. We’re kind of the underdogs here,” said Kinohi.
She will travel to Oahu to represent Kauai in the pageant at the Waikiki Beachcomer Hotel. The winner of the competition will be flown to Orlando, Florida to represent Hawaii in the national pageant, and compete against the other contestants in her age division.