Samoan wins inaugural Miss South Pacific Plus
A Samoan has won the inaugural Miss South Pacific Plus crown in Sydney, Australia.
Thelma Fetu 29, from Christchurch and now residing in Sydney Australia has been crowned the first Miss South Pacific Plus.
The unique competition which was held in Sydney on Saturday night to celebrate ‘Plus-Size’ Pacific women and is the first of its kind in the region.
Ms Fetu, whose parents hail from the villages of Satapuala, Safato’a Lefaga and Leulomoeaga Tuai, said she always struggled with body image whilst growing up.
But as she became more confident in her life, her friends suggested she enter the competition, when the search for contestants was advertised earlier this year.
“I’ve seen how popular the Plus-Size pageants are in America so I’ve been waiting for it to come here. I entered because I want to be an example for the younger ones.
Many of the bigger girls, especially us Pacific girls are afraid to show our skin and so we cover up sometimes. Even if I didn’t win, I just wanted to set an example to younger girls that they should love their bodies,” she said.
Director of the new pageant, Victoria Malaga, said she wanted to create a platform for fuller-figured Pacific women who have long felt left out of the traditional pageant scene. And when she put the call out for pageant participants, she received a large response.
“We had girls from all the Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand and as far as the U.S expressing their interest,” she said.
The entries were narrowed down to six finalists, who proudly displayed their respective Pacific backgrounds through talent, fashion and interviews to a sell-out crowd.
Fellow Samoan contestant from Melbourne, 26-year-old Polive Lillian Levi, said the idea of entering a pageant never crossed her mind. But with the encouragement of family and friends, she gave it a go.
“The meaningful workshops leading up to the event like working with charities and visiting the elderly in rest homes was valuable and purposeful for me.
“I have a different perspective on things now. I will take what I have learnt into my career even but more importantly, to teach my young family members because that’s where confidence and self worth begins - at home,” she added.
Present at last night’s show was well known Sydney-based Samoan fashion designer and talent scout, Tito Stowers, who praised the new initiative.
“It’s important for our women to embrace their bodies and own their beauty, regardless of their shape or size. Being ‘big’ should be celebrated,” she said.