Hawaii -the 50th state of the United States. It is the ultimate among the states that were admitted to the union. Exotic, tropical, detached from the continental USA, Hawaii is rich in tradition and history. What sets it apart from other American states is that it is, as of press time, the only state which does not have non-Hispanic whites as the majority of the population. Its unique place within the United States has allowed it to participate in all three of the Big4 Pageants.
At Miss Universe, Hawaii competed as an American territory until 1959 – the year when Hawaii was officially admitted as a state of USA. Interestingly, at both Miss World and Miss International, Hawaii competed on those years when it is already a part of the United States and a Hawaiian delegate actually competed against an American candidate. Hawaii has never participated at Miss Earth.
Ideally, a Big4 pageant is a competition of nations. Thus, any entities represented by a contestant without discernible political boundaries should be avoided. But like Puerto Rico or Guam, Hawaii, before being admitted to the union, has all the rights and privileges to participate in a major international pageant.
So what about those years when it was already a state? Well, at Miss World, Hawaii competed twice – in 1959 (post admission to the union) and amazingly in 2001! But since the Miss World America has a national pageant with delegates from all of the American states, it is no longer practical to have Hawaii at the international finals.
Miss International on the other hand is simply influenced by the Japanese viewpoint. It is the pageant where the state has participated the most. Hawaii has a special place in Japanese history and for years, in the late 1800s, its imperial government had friendly relationships with the Hawaiian monarchy. Various Japanese laborers migrated to Hawaii almost a century ago and many Hawaiians have Japanese ancestry. Japan also then viewed the annexation of Hawaii by United States as illegal.
While Japan officially recognizes the status of Hawaii as a state of the United States, it still harbors its old sentiments. Hawaii is just so different from the rest of the US, so much so that it deserves its own sash at Miss International. This year, Brianna Acosta, 23 years of age and 5’11” tall, will represent Hawaii at the Miss International pageant. She was born and raised in Waialua, a small plantation town on the north shore of O’ahu. She was a former Miss Hawaii USA and a valedictorian during her high school. She will try to surpass the 2nd runner-up finish of Hawaii back in 1990 through her experience at the Miss USA 2013 pageant plus the highly professional team handling her. After years of absence, its aloha once again for Hawaii at Miss International. Mahalo, Hawaii for coming back!