Representing Samoa has been nothing short of a blessing for outgoing Miss Samoa, Papali’i Alexandra Iakopo. Today, Papali’i will present her crown to one of nine contestants vying for the Miss Samoa crown in Salelologa, Savai’i.
It will be a bitter-sweet moment for the woman who has been the face of Samoa during the past 12 months. She came first runner up to being Miss Pacific Islands.
During an interview with the Weekend Observer, Papali’i hopes the new Miss Samoa will go on to represent Samoa with more grace, flare and most importantly be her true self.
“All good things must come to an end and with that being said, I am truly blessed to have gained so much experience throughout it all,” Papalii said.
The 24-year-old said joining the pageant and being crowned Miss Samoa was an eye opener for her because she saw more of Samoa that she did not see and experience.
“The experience had so many ups and down but that serves to shape you into a better person. It was a real blessing. I am very thankful for the opportunity to join and to even make it as a Miss Samoa.
“The biggest lesson I learned is patience because things will not always go your way. Additionally there were so many things outside of my comfort zone, and also things that I have no knowledge of, but then you just have to pick up the pieces and go with it.”
Papali’i said being Miss Samoa is more than just a crown because you are responsible for representing Samoans locally and abroad.
“It comes with elegance and grace and also comes with service towards the people.
“Beauty as some would say comes with a purpose, but for me it comes with service to the people, it’s not about what the people can do for you, it’s what you can do for the people like those in need, those who need a voice, it’s about representing.”
Papali’i was asked if she was ready to let go of the crown.
“I am ready in the sense that I have family commitments to fulfill, now that it’s just me, my mother and brother.”
Her father passed away two months after she was crowned Miss Samoa 2017-2018 and two-three weeks before the Miss Pacific Pageant.
“It was a tough time but then God was there to help me through it all. I have to say that it was the hardest challenge I have ever faced, having to smile on the outside while my heart was in pain,” Papali’i said.
“But at the end of the day, it takes courage to go through life with a smile on your face even though behind closed door, there is a battle that we all get to face.
“I conquered my fears when I joined the Pageant with how I perceive myself, with my inner and outer beauty. Eventually my family and friends have helped me come out of my comfort zone and show Samoa who I really am deep down inside even though I am this quiet, elegant and so forth type of person as so many perceive me to be but behind that there’s that comedian side to me also, sort of like a bubbly personality.”
Papali’i added that a year was not enough for her to accomplish everything, but she has given her all in the hopes that the people are satisfied with the work she has done.
“I acknowledge mainly God first, my family, my sponsor, and all of Samoa from the bottom of my heart because without everyone and all the complaints, it wouldn’t have made me a better person and I hope I am a better person now.”