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Finding yourself with pageantry

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Brooke Alcuran

Brooke Alcuran poses with her “Miss Chinatown Hawaii” sash. 

Miss Chinatown Hawaii Brooke Alcuran placed second runner-up at the 75th Annual Miss Hawaii Scholarship Program on June 15 at the Hawaii Theatre after judges assessed candidates’ conversational skills, talents and more.

Alcuran loved the glamour of pageantry. However, the experience was beyond the ball gowns, crowns and sashes. It was the opportunity to build connections and the realization of who one wants to be. 

“You know these girls are more than just beautiful,” she said. “They’re beautiful from the outside because they’re beautiful from the inside and I love that about pageantry.”

Her road to Miss Hawaii

Prior to this year’s Miss Hawaii pageant, Alcuran participated in the 2015 Miss Hawaii pageant when she was Miss Honolulu. Her experience in pageantry has changed her and her mindset.

“I think the great thing about pageantry is that it helps you become the person that you want to be,” she said. “Not necessarily the person other people want you to be.”

The hardest thing about pageantry is when others try to dictate what the candidate should say or how they should act, according to Alcuran. 

“You learn quickly who you are and how to block out unnecessary things that don’t contribute to your well being and make you who you want to be,” Alcuran said. 

Art & Soul

Each contestant has their platform statement, “A cause that a contestant chooses to volunteer her time to either bring awareness to, raise money or implement a program she has created that will help address this problem,” according to Winning Through Pageantry, a pageant coaching website.

Alcuran created Art & Soul for her platform statement. 

With a mission to advocate for the arts for youth empowerment, Art & Soul started with arts and crafts kits for underprivileged kids living in Hawai‘i’s homeless shelters. She shares her experience in the arts through various workshops. 

“To broaden their minds and give them opportunities for the arts because in the end not many kids actually get to have that experience,” Alcuran said. 

Art was a safe place for Alcuran, according to her GoFundMe page. 

“My experience with bullying in elementary school allowed me to develop distrust issues as a middle schooler and eventually an adult,” Alcuran said. “It was no surprise that I decided to pursue a degree in music because through this medium I found a means to cope with my anxiety and a group of friends that I could trust for life.”

She envisions Art & Soul providing positive development opportunities for youth through art.  

UH Experience

Alcuran graduated from UH Mānoa as a music major in three years. During that time, she served as a staff writer for Ka Leo until she became the opinions editor during her final year. She calls her collegiate experience a mind opener because of the environment and the exposure to many different things.

“That’s the great thing about UH Mānoa and the great thing about Ka Leo is that it really expands your mind to things,” Alcuran said.

During her time at UH Mānoa, studying music performance helped Alcuran grow artistically and figure out her style.

As for life after college, she considers it a push and a pull because of the certain freedoms one has to give away for other freedoms.

“Take the time to educate yourself, your mind and find friends that can be with you for the rest of your life...,” she said. “Make the most of your time so that in the future after you graduate you’ll still be enjoying your time no matter how hard life is.”