Ki‘ilani Arruda to compete for the 38th Miss Teen USA title

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    Ki‘ilani Arruda, is representing Kaua‘i at the 38th Teen USA Pagent being held in Tennessee on Nov. 6 & Nov. 7.

Ki‘ilani Arruda, Miss Hawai‘i Teen USA 2020 and Kaua‘i teen, is heading to Memphis, Tennessee on Nov. 6 to Nov. 7 to compete for the 38th Miss Teen USA title.

“Competing at Miss Hawai‘i Teen USA as Miss Kaua‘i Teen USA was a dream come true,” Arruda said. “Both of my years competing before winning the title, I was simply so grateful to be able to represent my beautiful island of Kaua‘i. Now as I am going to compete at Miss Teen USA, I have been reflecting a lot about these past two years and am so excited to be able to represent both my state and my island of Kaua‘i in Memphis, Tennessee.”

Reflecting on her pageant experiences Arruda expressed gratitude for her current title.

“What I love about the Miss Teen USA competition and the Miss Universe organization is that women are empowering women to reach their fullest potential and the pageant provides so many opportunities for young women all over the world to do amazing things,” Arruda said. “I feel so grateful and honored that I get to stand on stage with 50 other amazing, talented, and successful teens from our country to vie for the title of Miss Teen USA 2020.”

This year, the will be hosted on Elvis Presley’s Graceland and the Miss Teen USA finals will be streamed live on the Miss Universe Organization social channels on Saturday, Nov. 7 at 9 p.m.

Arruda is currently a distance-learning freshman at the University of Puget Sound studying Molecular and Cellular Biology on a pre-med track while minoring in Spanish. She recently graduated from Island School with a 4.0 GPA and received multiple awards over the course of her academic career.

Arruda strives to maintain an active lifestyle. In high school, she competed in volleyball, swim and track. She is expecting to swim for her university in the future when it is allowed.

Because of Arruda’s younger brother being diagnosed with autism at the age of two, she is now an advocate for Autism Awareness and holds a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) license.

According to Miss Kauai Teen USA, people can follow Arruda’s journey to the “Miss Teen USA crown at @MissHITeenUSA as well as @TeamKauaiUSA on Instagram.

Arruda was also Miss Kaua‘i Teen USA in 2018 where she placed second runner up at the state pageant then she represented Kaua‘i again in 2019 winning the 2020 Miss Hawai‘I Teen USA title.

Avery Kano, executive director of the Miss Kaua‘i USA organization, will be in Memphis to cheer her on.

“I am so excited to be able to cheer her on as she competes for Miss Teen USA,” said Kano. “I am so proud of her. As it is a great honor for her to represent not only Hawai‘i but our island home of Kaua‘i, as her Kaua‘i Director it is also an honor for me. The last two and a half years has been quite the journey, but being able to guide Ki‘ilani through her year as Miss Hawai‘i Teen USA 2020 has been so rewarding.

“I have seen her grow into the young lady she is today – confident in her own skin with a beautiful heart and soul. She is not only beautiful on the outside as the beauty she exudes from the inside is what shines the most in my eyes which makes her a quintessential role model for teens across the country,” said Kano.

Kelly Hu, actress and model, was the only Hawai‘i girl to win the Miss Teen USA title in 1985, and Kaua‘i girl Sonya Balmores came extremely close, winning first runner up in 2004.

The Miss Universe Organization is the largest pageant organization in the world also having the largest fan base of any pageant organization making it a perfect place for young women to have their voices heard while continuing to reach their personal and professional goals.

The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal best. A confident woman has the power to make real change, starting in her local community with the potential to reach a global audience.

“We encourage every woman to get out of her comfort zone, be herself, and continue to define what it means to be Confidently Beautiful,” the organization said.

For more information visit or @TeamKauaiUSA on Facebook and Instagram.


Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or


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