My first reaction when I was crowned Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen was that I, Makaila Natividad, was going to compete at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Behold, two months later I was on a two-o’clock plane ride headed to sunny Orlando, Florida. That’s when it hit me. A girl who had never competed in pageants or, as we call it, competitions, was so fortunate to get a shot at representing her beautiful, diverse state. Before the crazy fun filled week began, my director sat me down and we chatted. We chatted about making sure to share who I am to everyone, breathe, and most importantly, stand strong in my beliefs. That really helped kick off the week!
On that Friday, I walked into the hallway where all the girls were gathered and let me tell you what I saw: A wonderful, diverse, and unbelievably outstanding group of young women whom I would call my sisters. Let me tell you, it was a little hard to break the ice at first, but soon after our phones were taken away, we all just bonded. We complained about the very crazy Florida weather; we cheered each other on when we had to do the killer lifestyle and fitness routine; and, we were a real group of women who just wanted to make a difference in the world. There was never a dull moment with them, our hostesses, or our security guards.
This competition pushed me and made me grow in ways I never thought I could. Every time I did the opening number, the lifestyle and fitness, or the evening gown production number, I made it a must to give it my 110%. I made sure to put my heart over matter. When I performed my talent on stage, I was tired but, even through this rough patch, I left everything out on the stage. When I went into the interview with the judges, my heart spoke for itself and it was one of the best interviews I’ve ever had. Throughout the competition I had constant determination, I made mistakes and embraced them, and, importantly, I was just myself.
Overall, there is not a single thing I would change about the competition. Well, maybe the fact that some mornings we had to wake up at, let’s just say, 5:00 am. It was way too early…… Miss America’s Outstanding Teen isn’t just a competition that rewards young women for their accomplishments, but it also gives them a chance to use their voice and make a difference. I will never forget the 50 young women and the people who made this experience possible. It’s a very cheesy concept, but the MAOTeen competition was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never ever take for granted. It stays true to its motto. Style. Scholarship. Success. Indeed, there is, and forever will be, Sisterhood.
Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen 2019
On Friday June 28, 2019, our Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen 2019, Makaila Natividad, joined her big sister, Miss Hawaii 2019, Nikki Holbrook, for an amazing day at Gunstock Ranch planting monarch milo trees through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative. Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) has been a partner with the Miss Hawaii organization since 2013, providing 100 trees a year to be planted as “Omiyage” for their Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen sisters when they go to their national competitions later in the year. Each contestant will receive a certificate with a RFID tracking number so they can look up the positions of their tree on the HLH website on the day it was planted. Planting a native Hawaiian tree not only helps the ‘aina by building a legacy forest that will never be cut down, it also helps to neutralize the carbon footprint of traveling from all over the country for Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen participants.
Makaila’s day began with meeting up with Nikki and five other Miss Hawaii candidates who competed with Nikki last month for the honor being chosen as our Miss Hawaii 2019. The ladies had a fun photo shoot at Gunstock Ranch base camp and met Winston, a beautiful and robust horse who seemed more interested in posing for pictures and munching on green grass. After a few more hugs from Winston, Makaila and Nikki climbed aboard two Pizgauer all-terrain vehicles (aka yellow beasts), along with 14 other MH and MHIOT ohana, and headed up the mountain. They stopped off at a beautiful scenic lookout, a daring swing over a steep hillside and enjoyed a beautiful hula La’ieikawai by Miss Kaka‘ako, Makana Williams. After a few photos, it was back in the yellow beasts up to the top of the property and to the open pasture where the milo trees were waiting to be planted.
When we arrived, the holes were already dug and the irrigation system was ready to provide nourishing water to the young trees. But before the ladies got their hands dirty, they learned of the ahupua‘a of Malaekahana and La‘ie and the story of La’ieikawai and her sister La’ielohelohe and how they were saved from their father, the chief, and hidden away in the mountains of La’ie. We also learned how the milo tree roots dig deep into the soil and hold the ‘aina together, preventing runoff that works its way down the mountain to the ocean, causing damage to the coral reefs below. Everyone felt a bit more connected to the ‘aina after listening to the stories and were ready to get planting.
After a brief instruction of how to place the tree in the dirt (not too high and not too deep), and how to pack the soil around the roots (don’t leave air pockets in the dirt) and how to offer them water (cup your hands around the tree, have a friend pour water from the ipu into your hands so your mana is shared with the tree while you think lovely, leafy thoughts), Makaila was ready! Fifty trees later, with photos of each tree that will be connected to a MAOT contestant from every state, Makaila and her dad planted their own Legacy Tree for their ‘ohana. “Mana is the spiritual energy of power and strength existing in an object or a person,” shared Makaila. “When I planted the Milo tree with my dad, I felt this energy in my hand being passed on to the tree. I have learned and grown so much as a person because of my family and the MHIOT organization. I hope that, just like me, the Milo tree will grow to build a strong, unbreakable trunk that continues to protect the ‘aina. This was definitely an experience that will always be kept close to my heart.”
If you would like to learn more about Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods and their amazing mission to plant 1.3 million trees (one for every living person in Hawaii), visit their website at www.legacytrees.org. To sponsor a tree and give back to the Miss Hawaii Organization, visit www.legacytrees.org/mho.html. For every tree sponsored through this link, $30 will go back to the MHO for scholarships. Mahalo piha Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods for supporting the Miss Hawaii and Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen programs that not only assists the educational goals of the Miss Hawaii recipients, but importantly contributes to helping make Hawaii and the world a better place for all of us.
On December 15, 2018, the crew of the Holokai cameraman hosted families from Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children for a 2 hour cruise. Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen, Sophia Stark, was there to spend a wonderful afternoon talking story with the keiki, hanging out with families and enjoying the beautiful day.