Former Miss Aloha Hula Mahealani Mika Hirao-Solem joins McKenna virtually from her hale in California. Mika is celebrating her 10-year anniversary of being honored the title of Miss Aloha Hula in 2010. McKenna asks Mika to share some of her memories. She shares, “The first thing that comes to mind is complete excitement. I remember that night just feeling grateful that I had the opportunity to even step on that stage and represent my 'ohana, my Hālau Hula Hawai’i at the time. So, I was really calm about it all because I just felt a deep sense of gratitude and having that moment where everybody has their eyes on you, it almost makes you realize that it’s very much not about you, but it’s what you’re able to represent, who you’re able to bring with you, and all of your kupuna and all of our kupuna.” McKenna and Mahealani talk about the sisterhood and bond between all the Miss Aloha Hulas and a way that the entire hula community can stay united throughout the year. Mahealani came up with #merriemonarchmoments, a fun social interaction hashtag on Instagram.
Mahealani shares from her heart what hula means to her, “Without hula, without all of the Kumu and the haumana generations, and generations, and generations back who truly live and practice hula at this time, we would not have it today. We wouldn’t have so much of our language even. We wouldn’t have the understanding of who we are as Hawaiians or even just people of Hawai’i because not only Hawaiians dance hula. Where would we be without hula? Hula is important and it has survived. It will continue to survive and it’s up to us to make sure we understand that and if we just appreciate the beauty of hula for really what it is: life.”