Kiʻilani Arruda, 18, of Kapaa, Hawaii, United States was crowned Miss Teen USA 2020 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, USA on November 7, 2020. She is half-American, half-Filipino.
This made Arruda the second beauty queen from Hawaii to win Miss Teen USA. The first one was actress Kelly Hu, 52, who was Miss Teen USA 1985 and Miss Hawaii USA 1993.
Arruda was asked about her favorite Miss Universe winner in a press conference after the Miss Teen USA 2020 coronation night. She mentioned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, 26, of the Philippines.
“I’m a little biased,” the Philippine Inquirer quoted Arruda as saying. “Of course, Catriona because I am half Filipino myself and her reign was so amazing and I’ve always looked up to her as a role model.”
Miss Teen USA 2005 Allie LaForce, 31, of Ohio and Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, 29, of Connecticut hosted the Miss Teen USA 2020 coronation night. The judges were Miss Teen USA 2011 Danielle Doty Fitzgerald, 27, of Texas, Miss Teen USA 2014 K. Lee Graham, 23, of South Carolina, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, 27, of New York, social media personality and TikToker Sara Echeagaray, 19, and scientist, entrepreneur and medical missionary Iman Oubou, 23.
“For me, especially, it has taught me how to appreciate my family,” Arruda said about the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic during the question-and-answer portion. “I got to spend so much time with my family, my little sister, my little brother. I love them dearly, and I know that soon, in spring, I will be going off to college, and I won’t have those precious moments with them.”
Runner-up to Arruda was Shayla Montgomery, 18, of Oregon while the respective second, third and fourth runners-up were Shayla Jackson, 18, of Georgia, Audrey Eckert, 18, of Nebraska and Sydney Taylor, 19, of Louisiana. The Miss Congeniality award was given to Marianne Bautista, 17, of Washington.
After winning Miss Kauai Teen USA 2019, Arruda competed in Miss Hawaii Teen USA 2019, she finished second runner-up and won Miss Congeniality. She returned one year later and finally won the title.
The Kapaa native attended Island School in Lihue, Hawaii. She served as the executive president of the student government, was on the National Honors Society and graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Currently, Arruda is a freshman at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, USA. She is studying molecular and cellular biology on a pre-med track and minoring in Spanish.
Categories: Beauty Pageants
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