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Miss Hawaii Legacy


The Miss Hawaii Story

The Beginning – Hawaii entered Miss America in 1948. Yun Tau Zane, the new Miss Hawaiʿi and the first Asian American to compete at the Miss America competition would go onto share the “Aloha Spirit” and return home with the Miss Congeniality award. Yun Tau Zane became Miss Hawaiʿi after the original winner, Irmgard Waiwaiole resigned the title after realizing that she may not complete her studies in High school in time to compete at Miss America. Hawaiʿi would go onto win many more Congeniality awards, setting in motion that the “Aloha Spirit” and Hawaiʿi are truly a part of the fabric and legacy called, Miss America.

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Miss America Placement

Recognition at Miss America – Aside from being the farthest State in the Union from Atlantic City and one of the smallest, Hawaiʿi has accomplished quite a substantial record at Miss America over the past 75 years. We have been fortunate enough to see two Miss Hawaii’s crowned Miss America, beginning with Carolyn Sapp in 1991 and of course the second Miss Hawaii, first Asian American to wear the crown of Miss America, Angela Perez Baraquio in 2000. Many more have placed high, including Jalee Fuselier 2nd Runner (2010), Kanoelani Gibson 1st Runner Up (2003), Susan Pickering 2nd Runner Up (1963), and Patricia Lei Anderson 4th Runner Up (1962). Many more have been named as finalists in the national competition, they include: Lauren Teruya (2022), Nikki Kehaulani Holbrook (2019), Raeceen Woolford (2009), Nicole Fox (2008), Pilialoha Gaison (2006), Erika Kaufman (1997), Melissa Ann Short (1996), Kanoe Aberegg (1993), Desiree Moana Cruz (1988), Debbie Nakanelua (1984), Sheryl Akaka (1969), Leina’ala Teruya (1964), Joan Whitney Vine (1961), Jere Wright (1956), Barbara Mamo Viera (1955), Beverly Rivera (1952) and Betty Jane Johnson (1949).


Special to Hawaii’s heart is the significant accomplishment of being recognized with a dozen Miss Congeniality awards, in addition to the countless preliminary talent, swimsuit, Quality of Life, finalist awards and more. It is noteworthy to also acknowledge the unique accomplishment of Miss Hawaii, Lauren Cheape, in 2011 as a Miracle Maker Award recipient for raising over $50,000 for Children’s Miracle Network.

Milestones and Points of Interest – In 1992, the Miss Hawaii Organization helped to produce the Miss America Swimsuit Segment with a cast of over a dozen male and female Hula dancers as well as award winning musicians The Brothers Cazimero. This performance was one of the last instances that Live Musicians performed on the Miss America stage.


In 2004, after having traveled hundreds of thousands of miles promoting the State of Hawaii, Miss Hawaii as indicated in a Joint Resolution of the Hawaii State Legislature was declared the “Official Honorary Hostess of the State of Hawaiʿi”, an honor she continues to hold until today. With almost 40% of the States yet to have their Miss crowned as Miss America, Hawaii crowned two Miss Americas and is considered as one of the top 15 most competitive States at nationals.


Miss Hawaii in cooperation with State agencies travels across the globe to promote the State of Hawaii as a World Destination. Markets in which Miss Hawaii visits annually include Japan, Korea, China and Australia! In 2005 the Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen contest was added as part of our Miss Hawaii Organization. Miss Hawaii is televised across the State and since 1983 is one of the few locally produced telecasts in Hawaii. The average Miss Hawaii volunteer has served 15+ years and over a dozen have over 25 years of service!

Miss Hawaii Legacy

Star Dahl -Thurston, 2023

Lauren Teruya, 2022

Courtney Choy, 2021

Nikki Holbrook, 2019-2020

Penelope Ng Pack, 2018

Kathryn Teruya, 2017

Allison Chu, 2016

Jeanne Kapela, 2015 

Stephanie Steuri, 2014 

Crystal Lee, 2013

Skyler Kamaka, 2012

Lauren Cheape, 2011 

Jalee Fuselier, 2010 

Raeceen Woolford, 2009 

Nicole Fox, 2008

Ashley Layfield, 2007

Pilialoha Gaison, 2006

Malika Dudley, 2005 

Olena Rubin, 2004

Kanoelani Gibson, 2003

Kehaulani Christian. 2002

Denby Dung, 2001

Billie Takaki, 2000

*Angela Perez Baraquio, 2000

Candes Meijide Gentry, 1999

Jennifer Hera, 1998

Erika Kauffman, 1997

Melissa Short, 1996

Traci Toguchi, 1995

Courtney Nicolle Glaza, 1994

Kanoe Aberegg, 1993

Pamela Kimura, 1992

Lani Stone, 1991

*Carolyn Suzanne Sapp, 1991

Cheryl Akemi Toma, 1990

Ligaya Stice, 1989

Desiree Moana Cruz, 1988

Luana Alapa, 1987

Cheryl Bartlett, 1986

Jeanne Miyamoto, 1985

Debbie Nakanelua, 1984

Wendy Sue Nelson, 1983

Gayle Lee Thomas, 1982

Pamela Iwalani Offer, 1981

Keonelehua Cook, 1980

Sheron Leihuanani Bissen, 1979

Elizabeth Lindsey, 1978

Libby Lee, 1977

Haunani Asing, 1976

Catherine Foy, 1975

Coline -Helen Kanaloku Aiu, 1974

Kanoelehua Kaumeheiwa, 1973

Marlene Kalahiki, 1972

Aurora Kaawa, 1971

Kathleen O’Sullivan, 1970

Sheryl Akaka, 1969

Deborah Ynez Gima, 1968

Robin Ruth Engel, 1967

Lorretta Ann Perreira, 1966

Roberta Rosaria Conlan, 1965

Leinaala Ann Teruya, 1964

Susan Dee Pickering, 1963

Patricia Lei Anderson, 1962

Joan Whitney Vine, 1961

Gabriella Haleakala I, 1960

Gordean Leleihua Lee, 1959

Georgietta Parker, 1958

Sandra Lei Forsythe, 1957

Jere Wright, 1956

Barbara Mamo Vieira, 1955

Gertrude Miller, 1954

Dorothy Leilani Ellis, 1953

Beverly Kathleen Rivera, 1952

Claire Kathleen Heen, 1951

Dell -Finn Poaha, 1950

Betty Jane Johnson, 1949

Yun Tau Zane, 1948

Irmgard Leinaala Waiwaiole, 1948



Interested in competing, volunteering or contributing to this prestigious legacy? Send us a message, email or chat today.

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