A half-Filipino teen representing Hawaii won Miss Teen USA 2020 on Sunday, November 8 (Saturday, November 7 in the US).
Ki’ilani Arruda, 18, who hails from Kapaa, succeeded Kaliegh Garris as the new titleholder and will work with the Miss Universe Organization for a year.
Ki’ilani is also the first Miss Teen USA winner to wear the new crown by Mouawad called the Power of Hope.
In her final question, Ki’ilani was asked what the global pandemic taught her about life. She said: “Well, of course, this global pandemic is very unprecedented and has taught me a lot about life. For me, it has especially taught me how to appreciate my family. I got to spend so much time with my family, my little sister, and my little brother. I love them dearly and I know that soon, in spring, I will be going off to college, and I won’t have those precious moments with them. So really just to cherish those around me… It’s so honorable I get to represent my home of Hawaii, so just being at home is so wonderful. Thank you.”
According to her Miss Teen USA biography, she also plans to study molecular and cellular biology for college and eventually go to medical school at Stanford University. She also has a passion for painting.
In an interview after the finals, Ki’ilani said that she looks up to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
“I am a little biased towards Catriona just because I am half-Filipino myself. And her reign was so amazing and I always looked up to her as a role model, ” she said.
Ki’ilani said that among the projects she is looking forward to working on include promoting positivity among teens and autism awareness.
The pageant was held at Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee. – Rappler.com