Miss Teen USA photo
Ki’ilani Arruda of Kauai is the new Miss Teen USA. The 18-year-old is Filipino American and won her crown Saturday in Memphis.
She’s the second from Hawaii to win the title, the first since Kelly Hu in 1985, according to CNN. PEP Philippines also reports she is the second of Filipino descent to win the crown. The first was actress Vanessa Minnillo-Lachey in 1998.
The first year student is currently studying studying molecular and cellular biology at the University of Puget Sound.
Her father is White and her mother is Filipino. She says the pandemic has brought her closer to her family.
“For me, it has especially taught me how to appreciate my family. 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 into college, and I won’t have those precious moments to share with them.
You can watch Arruda take her victory walk down the runway in this Instagram post.
AsAmNews has Asian America in its heart. We’re an all-volunteer effort of dedicated staff and interns. Check out our new Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story.