Get to know Miss Samoa 2019 & Miss Pacific Islands 2020 winner Fonoifafo Nancy Mcfarland-Seumanu
Why did you want to enter a beauty pageant?
The Miss Samoa platform is one that highlights and encompasses the beauty of our Samoa. I have hopes to use this pedestal to raise awareness within our Samoan community around health and advocate for higher education to our Pasifika youth.
As a public health nurse, I have witnessed first-hand the impact that low health literacy can have on individuals, especially within our Pasifika families. I would love to actively be involved in health promotion within our Pasifika communities by building connections with different community groups to build awareness of healthy living The Miss Samoa pageant will give me more exposure to different health providers that can help me bring to light the vision I’ve mentioned. On the second day of my reign I was able to meet with Dr. Rasul Baghirov, leader of World Health Organisation, who has requested I work closely with the health team in Samoa in implementing some of the health programmes that will benefit our people.
Through this pageant, I also wanted to build further connections with our providers to push for programs that encourage higher education and develop scholarship opportunities for youth. I am fortunate to have attained a tertiary level degree in a field that I am passionate about. I am a firm believer in the power and influence that education can have in changing communities. Prior to attending university, I was part of a Health Science Academy - a program set up to encourage Pacific students to work in the healthcare field. I became a recipient of the First Foundation Scholarship and that financially supported me through my 3 years in university. Programs such as the Health Science Academy motivated me to pursue my education.
With this pageant, I would like to push for more programs as such to encourage more of our Pasifika students to pursue higher education. My education now has opened many doors and opportunities for me and I believe it can do the same for all our Pasifika youth. On the Monday and Friday following the pageant I was invited to guest speak at the numeracy and literacy opening for students, and the open day National University of Samoa was hosting for students entering their tertiary years. At these events I was able to speak on the importance of education and the opportunities that have presented themselves since completing my tertiary year studies. I look forward to continuing this line of work upon my return.
What is the idea of a beautiful Pacific woman to you?
A beautiful Pacific woman to me is someone with a heart of service and can lead by example - A woman who embodies the values of our culture and our people and carries herself with humility.
An example of this would be my Mother - Nancy McFarland-Seumanu. My mother inspires me through her strength and independence. After raising 7 children, she decided to pursue higher education with hopes of securing a brighter further for our family.
Despite English being her second language, she took the challenge head on with her studies and successfully achieved her diploma in Mental Health. Her example has taught me that with perseverance and endurance, anything can be attainable
What does it mean to be a tama'ita'i Samoa in the modern Samoan world?
There are a lot of obstacles that we are confronted with on a daily basis.
What do you think are Miss Samoa's unique qualities for Miss South Pacific?
For myself, I offer experience in a work field that is of importance to our people. Our people are highly represented in non-communicable diseases that are easily preventable through simple lifestyle changes. With the Miss South Pacific platform, I will be able to build awareness around these diseases and educate our Pacific families on preventative methods, whilst at the same time building awareness around the importance of maintaining healthier lifestyle options.
I also believe that given my educational background, I could be of use to our Pacific people by promoting higher levels of education.
As a Miss Samoa, it is pivotal that I understand our cultural values of Samoa. Our culture has many aspects – language, attire, customs, food, traditions etc. All these aspects are of importance to me and have contributed largely to who I am as an individual. I believe that is another unique quality that the Miss Samoa offers for the Miss South Pacific pageant.
On the 30th of November Fonoifafo was crowned Miss Pacific Islands 2020 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. She also took out the Best Traditional Wear and Best Interview categories.
A few days later the newly crowned Miss Pacific Islands was in Samoa where she swapped her crown for her nursing cap and joined health officials helping to ensure families in Samoa are immunised against measles.
She then joined the team of vaccinators who went into communities to reach families in rural areas as well as the government mass vaccination campaign.
Sei behind the ear or sei in the bun?
Puletasi or modern mu'umu'u?
Weapon of choice: Jandal or Salu?
Jason Momoa or the Rock