As the only Samoan pageant queen to hold four titles to her name including Miss Samoa New Zealand, Miss Samoa, Miss Pacific Islands and Miss World Samoa, the stunning Latafale Auva’a now has her sights set on the Miss Universe New Zealand title.
Auva’a, 24, has been announced as a finalist (and potential winner) to take out the Miss Universe NZ 2018 competition where the winner will go on to represent New Zealand at Miss Universe in Las Vegas later this year.
“I had such an amazing experience at the Miss World Pageant,” Ms Auva’a told SUGA Magazine. “I have always wanted to use this experience to have a go at another pageant within the New Zealand scene.”
She was lucky enough to apply for Miss Universe New Zealand just in the nick of time when the Director of Miss World Samoa Te’eva Matafai sent her a link for last round applications three days before it closed.
“It is the last opportunity for me to model in this forum before I either one, get married or two, get too old,” she laughs. “I tried so hard with the other international pageants – I simply have nothing to lose.
‘Tried’ is an understatement. The stunning Samoan-Kiwi enjoyed her stellar run at the Miss World pageant in China two years ago where she scored highly and consistently throughout the competition earning her unexpected television air time that helped promote Samoa to a global audience of millions.
She was also fortunate enough to perform the ‘Siva Samoa’ dance on that stage, joined by her 120 fellow contestants – a first for a Samoan beauty queen.
Latafale has been away from the limelight in the last two years, but that doesn’t mean she’s been relaxing. In fact, she has been working harder than ever.
Apart from spending some time travelling abroad and enjoying modelling gigs, one of her biggest achievements to date is being admitted to the bar, qualifying as a lawyer.
“After I travelled, I had a serious season of finishing off my study. I hit the student life again and went from having a huge social life and presence doing a lot of charity work to being quite reclusive in order to get my degrees completed in time. It was extremely hard changing lifestyles instantaneously.”
The Miss Universe pageant is considered to have a lot more higher status and exposure than the Miss World pageants with the help of former owners such as Donald Trump and hosted by famous television personalities like Steve Harvey. Prizes including lucrative sponsorships and endorsements, a Miss Universe salary and a luxury apartment in New York city in addition to carrying out charitable duties.
What also makes Miss Universe stand out from the rest, are the bikini photoshoots and the swimsuit competition where participants rock their best swimsuit bodies on the runway – something that Latafale, who is used to the traditional and conservative formats of the Miss Samoa competitions, has thought a lot about.
“I have always been extremely modest. This is both a personal decision and something I pride myself in.
“I am now of an age where I feel comfortable enough, in my own skin – to be able to embrace my body in all its curves and to allow people to celebrate that as well. We don’t have enough bigger, curvier and Pacific shapes featuring in the media and I hope to bring a much different shape to the competition.
“I hope to encourage women, that education and a career in beauty can supplement one another.”
Watch the Youtube video above and vote for Latafale here! Public vote is worth 50% of Latafale’s total score. The other 50% is based off the judges on the night of the Miss Universe NZ Grand-final.