Miss Aloha Hula Taizha Keakealani Hughes-Kaluhiokalani shares her journey to victory

Updated: Apr. 17, 2020 at 1:56 AM HST
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Miss Aloha Hula 2019 Taizha Keakealani Hughes-Kaluhiokalani Talks Story with McKenna at her hālau in Oahu: Hālau Hi'iakaināmakalehua. McKenna asks her to take us back to that very special Thursday night that she was crowned Miss Aloha Hula. “It didn’t register to be honest with you, it didn’t register. The moments went by so fast. What I really appreciated was just how much family came out to support me.” A lot of little girls who watch Merrie Monarch from a very young age dream about being Miss Aloha Hula. McKenna shares, “I always wanted to know what it was like to look out into that audience. What did you see that night?” Taizha tells her, “A few heads here and there. I seen the judges, but the thing that makes me the most nervous is dancing in front of my Kumu and knowing they’re watching. I think part of what we go through with the training and just having to practice in front of them, it’s such a vulnerable feeling. You feel so exposed, and you feel completely naked in a sense. And that’s probably the most scariest thing I feel as a dancer is dancing completely by yourself in front of your Kumu because they can see everything. But that night, there was not really any nerves.”

It is a long road to Merrie Monarch including countless hours of practice. McKenna asks Taizha what the hardest part of her training has been. “The hardest part of this experience was being completely vulnerable and submitting everything of me to my Kumus, to the process, to hula. I think all of us, we probably have our own insecurities, we all have our own way of doing things. So, knowing that coming into this and having to break down those barriers, and kind of not really having a choice to either, that was probably the hardest thing.” Taizha is honored to join the sisterhood of Miss Aloha Hulas and hopes to set a good example and “Inspire the younger ones to do what they love, to be a good person, and to always strive to be better because those lessons are lessons that I’ve learned, not just throughout my life, but also lessons that I’ve learned from being in hālau and dancing for my Kumu.”

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