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Kayli Obrero, Kaliah Kaneakua win crowns

Kayli Obrero was crowned Miss Kaua‘i USA 2021, and Kaliah Kaneakua was announced Miss Kaua‘i Teen USA 2021 on Sunday by the judging panel coordinated by the Miss Kaua‘i USA Committee at the Kaua‘i Shores Hotel.

In addition to earning their respective crowns, Obrero and Kaliah earned eligibility to advance to the 2021 Miss Hawai‘i USA and Miss Hawai‘i Teen USA pageants scheduled for February 2022.

Obrero is a special-education teacher at Kapa‘a Elementary School and a board member for Women Speaking Out, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to give a voice to the youth of Hawai‘i through education, innovative action and opportunities to speak out and take a stand against dating violence.

She worked through and earned top marks in the interview and evening-gown phases of competition held outdoors and following all of the County of Kaua‘i rules and guidelines for professionally organized events.

Kaneakua, a senior at Kapa‘a High, is a hula performer with Hula Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala under kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao-Jardin, and enjoys volunteering for the National Fragile X Foundation and Special Olympics programs. En route to her Miss Kaua‘i Teen USA crown, she captured “Miss Media” honors for garnering the most likes on Instagram and Facebook.

Joining the pair of queens, Zoey Kaneakua was announced Miss Garden Isle USA, Kiani Souza earned the most-photogenic award, and had the Miss Mokihana USA banner placed on her. Megan Souza captured Miss Congeniality honors, and was announced Miss Wai‘ale‘ale USA. These three princesses will accompany Obrero and Kaneakua to the state pageant.

In addition to the queens and princesses, the Miss Kaua‘i USA Committee awarded four young, aspiring princesses titles in their own pageant that was topped by Hi‘ilei Berg securing Little Miss Kaua‘i honors and Sophia Gregg earning the crown and banner of Little Miss Garden Isle.

Colbie Cortez was announced Junior Miss Kaua‘i, and Kailea Gregg was announced Junior Miss Garden Isle.

“While competitive, the purpose of the Miss Kaua‘i Princess Pageant strives to help shape and inspire the contestants while strengthening their character and self-esteem, encourage self-love and inspire them to make a difference in the community,” said Avery Kano, the Miss Kaua‘i USA executive director. “But, most importantly, have fun.”

Faced with the difficulties of executing a pageant in the midst of COVID-19 proved challenging to the committee that faced venues closing down and a number of restrictions and rules generated by the growing number of cases from the COVID-19 delta variant.

“This was an intimate event that provided a safe and amazing platform for our young women to share their voices and future ambitions,” Kano said.

“A very-limited audience of family and friends were in attendance, and all attendees were required to show proof of completed vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken ahead of the pageantry. Face-mask wearing, temperature checks and assigned seating were enforced.”

Also taking in the pageantry were outgoing titleholders Miss Kaua‘i USA 2020 Nicholette Levinthol and Miss Kaua‘i Teen USA 2020 Talia Suzuki, who helped crown the new winners.

The pageant can be seen at for a fee. The stream will remain on the website through the end of the month.
Source: The Garden Island

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