In the early hours of tomorrow morning, Miss World Samoa, Latafale Auva’a, will know if her bid for the Miss World crown will pay off.
But even if she doesn’t, she will still be a winner in the eyes of thousands of Samoans and millions around the world.
Latafale has spent the past few weeks in China, competing in Miss World 2015 against more than a hundred women from all over the world.
Despite the monumental odds and criticism from Samoa, she has managed to perform well. She managed to come fifth in the sports challenge, and followed that up by coming fifth in the talent section of the competition.
She has managed to perform well in multiple other portions of the Miss World pageant too, most recently making the top 26 in the “beauty with a purpose” aspect of the pageant.
As the contest wraps up, Ms. Auva’a has taken to social media to address her local supporters. “Still rep'n[sic] the island styles,” she said on Facebook. “Fa'afetai lava for all the encouraging comments."
“I've done what I can - now, let go and let God as they say! So glad to have my director and my Mum and Dad here too!”
Ms. Auva’a’s Miss World 2015 bid has attracted controversy, with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi slamming her for choosing Miss World over Miss Pacific Islands.
“The only pageant that our Miss was supposed to contest in is the Pacific Islands one,” Tuilaepa recently told the Weekend Observer.
“But to go on the world stage is a waste of time(na’o pa’upa’u mea maua ai).”
The word pa’up’au in Samoan refers to snots. According to Tuilaepa, the Miss Pacific Islands (Latafale Auva’a) should get her priorities right.
“The Miss Pacific is to promote Samoa and the other Pacific islands,” he said. “But to jump up onto the world stage is just wanting too much…it is common practice for us to leave what we are capable of and to reach for something that we are nowhere near accomplishing."
“All you get is embarrassment.”
The most recent Miss Pacific Islands, held last week from 11-12 December, saw Papua New Guinea take the crown for the first time.