Samia Tofi Leota has nothing but admiration for Priscilla Palagaese Olano not only because she is the first Lauli’i lady to wear the Bluesky Miss Samoa crown but Priscilla’s resolve to maintain her leadership role in the village Youth for Christ Fellowship.
“She is still the same before she was crowned Miss Samoa,” said the 63-year old great grandfather.
“Priscilla has refused to allow her sudden fame to change her personality and commitments to her family, village and our Youth for Christ Fellowship in any way. She is the same Pricilla before the pageant but more open minded now and conscious of the responsibilities she carries.”
“As far as I can recall, Priscilla in her role as the Fellowships’ Head Girl has been very active.
She is a blessing and we are blessed to have her in our fold as one of our daughters in Christ. She is our group’s dance instructor, preparing the performances for the YFC School Break retreats,” added Mina Sagauga Tavita Leniu.
“The teens are drawn to her like magnet. The young ones look up to her as their role model. And she is very modest, soft spoken and in her own way has that natural gift to capture the teen’s attention. She is an inspiration.”
Now as Miss Samoa, Mrs. Leniu says that Priscilla achievements have resurrected the cultural and religious bonds among the villagers.
“Our Women’s Committee movement which has been absent for some years is now revived thanks to Priscilla,” said Lauli’i’s Paramount Chief Leniu Vainiu Te’o.
“Her achievements have re-ignited pride in Lauli’i from the young children all the way up to the Village Council.’
She has realised that being Miss Samoa is more than just looking beautiful on the outside but also feeling beautiful on the inside as a God-fearing Christian,” added her proud father, Tuatagaloa Paratiso Olana.
“Her Christian faith and upbringing is helping her to cope with the peer pressure. And as parents, we have faith in her and trust in our Father in Heaven to guide her and make our country proud of her.”
True to her Christian resolve, Miss Samoa maintains that the Almighty had played a leading role in her success. “The glory goes back to him,” says Priscilla. “I know the crown comes with huge responsibilities because I am not just representing my village and family but our country. I am proud to be a Samoan and even more blessed to be Fijian and Rotuman but most importantly I am proud to represent the people and the Glory goes back to the Almighty.”
Preparing for the Miss Pacific Pageant next month in Apia, she says that the research which include lectures and one on one interviews with stakeholders in the private and public sector have made her a better person.
“The Samoa Events Incorporated (SEI) team with Lina Slade Palamo as my chaperone have been extremely helpful.
“Lina’s experience as the 1984 Miss Samoa is very valuable in my preparations.
It’s an eye opener to learn a lot about Samoa and our region. From Information Technology, to the evolution of education in Samoa and the region not to mention, gender equality and women against violence are a few of topics which are under my radar in preparation for the Miss Pageant”.
“But perhaps most important to me is the empowerment of women and our youth to be better citizens and become assets to our society and not liabilities. I am definitely learning a lot of valuable lessons from the experience and it’s also rebuilding my character as a person and also as a young woman more determined now to make a difference.”