Miss Samoa prepares to relinquish crown
Time flies when you're on top.
For the reigning Miss Samoa, Sonia Piva, the past 12 months has whisked by.
A day away from the official launch of the 2019 Miss Samoa Pageant, the 22-year-old proud Samoan shared with Samoa Observer her experience during her reign.
The daughter of Maria and Tarcisio Piva, from the villages of Fagal'ii and Salelesi, says her journey as Miss Samoa has truly been a blessing and an honour.
“It is bitter sweet that it is coming to an end but as one chapter closes another chapter opens,” she said.
“I have learnt so much during my reign - to be a great leader you have to be humble, kind and have a lot of patience.
“It has been an amazing experience through taking part in various projects whether it is climate change or performing arts in rural areas or just running programmes with students.”
Asked about her fondest memory as Miss Samoa, she said: “The Miss Pacific Islands was the most memorable experience throughout my whole reign.
“The opportunity was a once in a lifetime experience that others are not fortunate to have, in terms of experiencing the Tongan culture.
A difficulty she encountered during her reign was time management in terms of balancing school, work and duties as Miss Samoa.
“I am currently studying for my Bachelor in education (degree) at Victoria University doing online courses, work full time but my responsibilities as Miss Samoa is priority.
“During hard times, my motivation was my parents, they taught me to work hard at my goals and achieve anything that I set my mind to especially my mother, she used to tell me ‘there is busy periods in your life but won’t last forever, so push through the hard times, long nights and early mornings.’"
Looking at the issues, she believes climate change is a major one.
“A major concern that Samoa needs to address is climate change because it is evident through sea level rise - our people need to come together, work at combating climate change.”
What sets Samoa apart from the rest of the world?
Her answer is family and culture.
“We can see it when our Samoan people host visitors – the visitors notice that Samoans are united through families."
Lastly, Ms. Piva said her reign would not have been possible without her supporters.
“I would like to thank everyone who have supported me throughout my reign especially my parents, my brother Anthony, cousin Doreen, Bluesky Samoa, President and Chief Executive Officer of Samoa Stationery and Books, Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai, S.S.A.B. and Asomua Asia Stanley, Samoa Tourism Authority and also Zac and Maria.
“A big thank you to my villages Fagalii and Salelesi who have been major support for me as well.”
So what is next for her?
Ms. Piva’s goal is to become a teacher. She believes it is an important job, as teachers help children learn how to become someone in the future hence her involvement with reading programmes with S.S.A.B.
“Everyone thinks I am moving back to Australia but I am not, I still will be here, I will be looking after our family businesses in Samoa and still be running programmes with Doris Tulifau," she said.
“My advice for the next Miss Samoa is to just be yourself; the responsibilities can be hard, stressful or tiring but make the most of the experience stay true to yourself and don’t lose sight of your purpose to becoming Miss Samoa. And the best of luck to the all the contestants this year.”