The 2018 McDonald’s Miss Samoa Pageant will be launched today at Taumeasina Island Resort.
Among the nine contestants is Miss Samoa Victoria Inc, Norah Lio Aloiai.
The 20-year-old daughter of Setu Aloiai and Fetuli Aloiai hails from Sapapali’i, Fogapoa i Safotulafai, Taga and Vailoa i Palauli.
Her paternal grandparents are Lio Ekeroma Aloiai and Nora Aloiai while her maternal grandparents are Sao Losia Fisaga and Kelematina Sao Losia. This is her story:
Norah has been a busy title holder of Miss Samoa Victoria Inc since her crowning on 9 June 2018 at the Williamstown Town Hall amongst competitors from around the Australian state of Victoria.
Norah was placed the winner amongst 6 strong contestants that each brought their passion, commitment and artistic skill to the stage and fairly judged by an esteemed panel of judges from the entertainment, fashion, cultural and artistic industries.
Norah says that her pageant journey was a great learning experience and one of her favorite highlights “The Miss Samoa Victoria Inc Committee have always instilled the importance of serving the community, as I proudly wear the crown of the Miss Samoa Victoria Inc. 2018, I see the value in being legitimately selected, especially since my title includes the name of the State that I competed in.
It represents the journey of my ‘Tausala Manaia’ team as well as the hard work of the other 5 contestants who mean a lot to me and will forever remain my pageant sisters, most importantly, it means I can enter the Miss Samoa Pageant in Savaii proudly as I represent Victoria as well as my Church, Village and families in Savaii.
"I look forward to developing projects around supporting Education within our youth and also contributing to Samoa and can’t wait to work on these. I understand that this an undertaking and opportunity to utilize the entire 12 months and is more than wearing a crown and parading around for the sake of it. I’ve been inspired by fearless and strong former ‘Miss’ title holders and hope to contribute as much as these inspiring women have done. I’m ready for that challenge and I urge all women, whether you are title holder or not, to strive for excellence”.
Norah has had some strong preparation, the pre-pageant program of “Faiva o alofi lima o Tamaitai” (Miss Samoa Victoria Inc Pageant 2018) included Samoan Culture & Language workshops, Creative Arts Workshops, Financial Literacy Workshops, Dance Rehearsals, Talent Coordination Workshops and followed up by their own personal study in these areas. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked with PICAA Inc (Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia), Nesian Pearl Dance Group, Empire Financial Corporation and creative arts workshops by Gina Tafea, this program has given me more passion and challenged me to be the best that I could be. I had a great support team with Tausala Manaia and the support of my family in Australia and Samoa has been important. I was born at Tuasivi Hospital in Savaii, all my family are from there and knowing that I will be part of the first ever Miss Samoa Pageant to be held in Savaii is a dream come true”.
Norah has since had a full calendar of appointments and preparatory events including the Matavai Birthday Celebration (Sydney), mentorship through the Multicultural Arts Victoria and the Global Indigenous Runway, Samoa Tourism Authority Expo (Melbourne CBD), Re-opening of Kiwi Pacific Store (Laverton), VICSAC Youth Rally (Mill Park) and the MSVInc Community Rally (Celebrating the Samoan Emerging Designers and Emerging Dance Groups).
“I was blessed and very grateful for the community that attended our Community Rally, it was a great opportunity to celebrate our Samoan Emerging Designers, Dianna Nu’u, Johanne Taupau and the beautiful gowns of Posh Boutique as well as witnessing the exciting talent in our community, Tamaitai Lalelei Dance Group, Sun’s of the Pacific and Nanaifanua Measina Dance Group, I see the value in celebrating our culture within our diaspora community, it’s harder to maintain your culture when you live in an environment and larger community that’s very multiculturally diverse, in Melbourne, we are only a small percentage of the different cultures of people that make up our population, this is a great thing as I’ve been able to learn from so many cultures but it’s also inspiring, as this instills the need to celebrate and keep our Samoan culture alive. With so much of our people living outside, we are the first impressions of Samoa to our international communities, if we can provide a positive image of our beautiful culture, it can inspire others to visit home, contribute to our Samoan Tourism economy and eventually, support our people. The act of embracing, championing and sharing our culture albeit small to some, can and will inspire our youth to be proud of their identity and discourage any negativity associated with transnationalism. There’s so much we can do as Samoans that live overseas, to embrace opportunities and seeking ways to connect with community, be innovative and seek inspiring ways to contribute back to our home. It’s important that we understand and pass on our tradition and customs to the next generation, we come from a rich culture of 'Faa-Samoa’, our history is deserving of celebration and worthy to be valued and cherished. I live in Australia, but I was born in Samoa and my heart will always be Samoan”.
“I think one of the emcee’s, Lua’italo Ropeti Brown, had said something that sums up my preparation for Samoa and that is ‘It doesn’t matter if you wear a crown, you are still a Samoan and your priority is to serve God, the village, community and your family’. I come from a big family, my role besides my study in Business at Uni, is to help my family, taking care of the elders and being the best I can be in all my endeavours. I’m not perfect, I still have a lot to learn and experience in order to grow, I’m eager and ready to learn and would never pretend to know everything”.
“I am looking forward to meeting the contestants and the opportunity to be back home in Savaii and excited for this years’ theme “Tamaliiaga o le Tamaitai”, the essence of a Samoan woman, it holds a special place in my heart as I am empowered by the strong Samoan women in my life (as well as the strong men) who have supported them and value the qualities of a Tamaitai Samoa.”
Norah was inspired by the former Miss Samoa Victoria Inc, Adele Faaosofia “When I met Adele and saw her perform in a community event, it encouraged me to enter the pageant, her perseverance and her passion to represent the Samoan community inspired me. I’ve been blessed to have had worked with her along this journey as well as Gina Tafea, former Miss Samoa Australia (MSVInc Committee). I will always remember my family and friends who have supported me throughout this entire journey (and who continue to do so) as well as my pageant sisters, Karen Sooaemalelagi, Rona Sina Komiti Alainuuese, Rachael Aulelio Fili, Brittany Sera Aiono and Shanasa Tanuvasa Tofaeono, this is our journey, this is for future contestants and this is for our beautiful Samoan Community of Victoria, I love you all.” - Norah Lio Setu Aloiai, Miss Samoa Victoria Inc 2018.
At the end of the ‘Miss Samoa’ pageant, Norah has a full schedule for 2018/2019. The MSVInc Committee have a list of community events, a Samoan-Australian project in collaboration with the Leulumoega School of Fine Arts, public engagement activities as well as working with Norah on her personal community project to ensure that her ‘Miss Samoa Victoria Inc Year of Reign’ is a fulfilling experience.