Twenty-two year old Tayla Jane Scanlan may be Australian born and raised but her Samoan links are from Faleula and Vaiusu.
This is the first time the Samoan community in New South Wales has had a contestant competing in a Miss Samoa Pageant and Tayla said she chose to enter the competition for the opportunity to showcase her faith in God.
“I am also proud to embrace the culture as a tama’ita’i Samoa,” she said
“There’s a lot of westernisation and I have lots of full Samoan relatives who don’t know how to speak the Samoan language even though they attend Samoan churches or grew up in Samoan families.
“They don’t really live in the fa’asamoa way,” said Miss Scanlan.
As well as spending time on her hobbies, singing, reading and spending time with her family, one thing she is very passionate about is education.
Just get her started on the subject.
“I feel like every child should have the opportunity to go to school because in the future, that can benefit the economy and it can give the young Samoans more opportunities to contribute to Samoa and to their parents as well.
“It’s disheartening knowing that there are issues involving our young ones happening in our community because we should all be united and just love, respect, honour and serve and that is what is our foundation.
She also has strong views on the value of partnerships and working together.
“So as a Samoan I would love to hold workshops and just be on the platform and try to get all the kids together and just realise that we all need to work together instead of going against each other and then in the future we can be whatever we want to be?
“If they believe it then it will definitely happen so I’d like to basically just try to be the voice of encouragement to motivate them.”
“I have always had the passion to speak and just be the voice. This was an honour to be chosen as the Miss Samoa NSW and I am very humbled, and so if this can get me to where I want to be, especially involved in the Samoan community and actually have a voice, then this is what I want to do,” she said.
Depression and suicide are other topics Tayla would like to see discussed more openly with youth.
“To tell them that it’s okay not to be okay and I think as a community we should all speak out about that and if you are not okay, then just talk to someone.
“I know it’s not very common that we speak of these topics because we are embarrassed but it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Miss N.S.W. works in the Finance industry and she is studying to become a cosmetic nurse.
She attended the Australian Institute of Music and Australian Academy of Beauty Therapy and in the future she hopes to become a humanitarian and to volunteer overseas using her nursing skills to help others.
“Family is so important to me,’ she declared, “and my parents are my motivation in everything I do.”