Taking second place and first runner-up at the Mrs. Hawaii United States beauty contest on Oahu was something that took Joelle Souza by surprise, but something that was not totally unexpected.
This past weekend, Souza, supported by her professional bull riding husband and two young (3 and 9-years-old) daughters, took the stage in Honolulu and eventually walked away as Mrs. Kauai 2019 as she will now be tasked with helping area youth and local charities in her newfound role.
“I actually had a month to prepare,” Souza said of her first beauty pageant. “For my first pageant, everyone was like, ‘wow, for a month?’”
Technically, Souza did compete in pageants when she was a teenager, but this is the first time she has competed as an adult and the mother of two is now setting her sights on more after coming in second in the prestigious pageant.
Souza has been asked after her showing last weekend to do the Mrs. Hawaii America Pageant next year.
“They just asked me a few days ago,” Souza said. “I haven’t really looked into it too much, but they just had the competition, so it wouldn’t be until sometime next year.”
In addition to now being a pageant runner-up and Mrs. Kauai 2019, Souza has spent time doing western fashion and is known as a western fashion influencer. Something she has been recognized for several times.
“So I work with a lot of western brands and I do fashion shows on the mainland like the national rodeo finals and the all American rodeo which are two really big rodeos,” Souza said of her previous experience before stepping into the pageant realm last weekend. “I didn’t really think that my career as a western fashion influencer would bring me back on stage like that to prepare for a pageant like this.”
Souza was asked to attend the pageant and compete for the right to represent Kauai in the contest, which had five other contestants in the running for the right to be called Mrs. Kauai. Now that she can call herself Mrs. Kauai 2019, Souza looks forward to what will come with the crown.
“Just a lot of community service work and tonight, for example, I have a meeting with the chamber of commerce,” Souza said of her new responsibilities that come with being named Mrs. Kauai 2019. “When I was in Vegas, working for the national finals rodeo, I worked for Rodeo Fame magazine and last year we planned a red carpet gala event to raise money for Refuge for Women. They’re an organization that houses women who have survived human trafficking.”
Those kinds of gala events Souza has done previously in other roles is something she looks to bring to her new role as Mrs. Kauai. She was sponsored in the pageant by the Saddle Room, Kalani Construction, the Waimea Theatre and a fundraising event that was done two weeks before the pageant.
“We had two friends that did live entertainment and I talked about my platform,” Souza said, adding there was a raffle to aid in the fundraising efforts where she was able to raise the funds needed just two weeks before the start of the pageant.
Souza’s family was thrilled with her showing, especially her 9-year-old daughter who was named Tiny Miss Kauai. The one thing that did take her by surprise during the pageant was the question posed to her by judges of who has the more important role within a family, the husband or the wife. It’s a question that she had to think over carefully after being escorted onto the stage by her husband.
“I said, ‘although my husband would love for me to say that he does, I think that we both each share our own separate important roles as husband and wife in marriage,’” Souza said of the puzzling moment. “And then I got a big clap.”
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.