Before I start, I should note I’m a little queasy about the basic premise of a beauty pageant, but I’m willing to level. One might posit last night’s pageant wasn’t a “beauty pageant” because there was a talent portion and an interview factored into the scoring rubric. Duly noted, but it seems like no coincidence the girl who won “most photogenic” also won the pageant. I think more celebratory aspects of the Tamaitai Samoa might be intelligence, perseverance, compassion, strength, conviction, ingenuity, scholarship, etc. It seems like an oxymoron to take pride in humility, but whatever. We argue the chauvinism of such contests another time. I’m willing to accept the celebratory nature of the event. Let’s move on.
First, it seems unfair to have contestants from The States and New Zealand and Australia competing with girls who’ve spent their whole lives here, especially since the interview portion is conducted in English. I’m not saying anyone’s life is tougher or easier as a result of where they grew up, and it’s nice Samoan women living in other countries are invited to the table. I’m simply saying the language of the interview should be up to the contestant or there should be stricter rules about admitting contestants from abroad. I suggested changing eligibility requirements to only allow girls who’ve spent more than half their life in Samoa. Phil called my rule arbitrary. Good point, Phil.
Second, I think the talent portion should include a required talent section to augment the choose-your-own portion. And the required talent should be something authentic like husking coconuts or plucking a chicken or carrying monster pieces of teak a couple miles or cooking up some kokoesi. The point isn’t to highlight diminutive tasks, but to showcase the true traditional tamaitai experience, right? I think the contestants should have to roll up their pulatasi sleeves and get their hands dirty. Phil asked if a siva Samoa might also be a required talent, and I said that could probably just fall in the choose-your-own. And he said a contestant could simply choose to husk coconuts for her choose-your-own. Another good point, Phil.
Third, we could all benefit from more substantive interview questions and answers. It seems like there are two types of questions that were asked last night:
- Light, nebulous questions (e.g. What will you do to help the children of Samoa?); and
- Heavy, issue-based questions (e.g. Do you think Samoa would benefit from increased foreign investment?)
Maybe I’m just trying to force my American perspective on to things. Or maybe I’m trying to celebrate the intelligent, perseverant, compassionate, strong, innovative, scholarly aspects of the Tamaitai Samoa.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
The line to get in last night.
Amanda and me.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of the evening was when the fafafine above sang the Linda Rondstadt part AND the Bill Medley part of "Somewhere Out There". It was a well-timed reveal, and her man voice was even better than her woman voice. Then she was joined by the man above for the build up part at the end where the two parts harmonize.
Contestant #3, Miss McDonald's, during the sarong portion.
Contestant #1, Miss Samoa New Zealand, doing her "news caster" talent in which she interviewed herself via satellite. I thought it was clever.
Contestant #4, Jacinta, was the winner. She is very pretty.