A dream long in the making came true on Sunday when Julianne Chu was named Miss Hawaii USA 2018 at the Hawai’i Convention Center. It was the fifth time she had run for the title. Her persistence paid off.
“When they got down to (announcing) the final two I honestly thought I had lost, and when they called my name I was so overwhelmed. I feel like I’m in a dream right now,” Chu said, shortly after receiving her winner’s sash and tiara. Chu won the title of Miss Hawaii Teen USA in 2010 but winning the adult title had come to seem an impossible dream. Last year she was fourth runner-up. This year she won the title and was the winner in the swimsuit category as well.
Among those cheering her on was her younger sister, Miss Hawaii 2016 Allison Carol Nanea Chu.
Celine “Tali” Silva
Elizabeth Pualani Armstrong
What was the winning edge this year? Chu said she decided to open up about her childhood — her parents are divorced — and let this year’s judges “see who the real Julie Chu is.”
“I think people already know who I am, but in my personal interview I told them how my childhood was not a typical childhood, and so I showed them how far I’ve come to get where I am. I’m really thankful that I was able to show my heart on the stage.”
Chu hopes to become the first Chinese-American Miss USA.
Ellise Kakazu was first runner-up for the second year in a row. Second runner-up was Celine ‘Tali” Silva. Elizabeth Pualani Armstrong was third runner-up. The fourth runner-up spot went to Michaela Spaulding.
Kakazu also won the evening gown category and was voted Miss Photogenic. Armstrong won the interview category. Silva was voted Miss Congeniality.