Pacific Scoop

Young Fiji achiever shapes up for Miss Teen USA after winning Idaho title

Hosanna Koroboro ... teen pageant "isn't all about beauty, boobs and bimbos". Photo: PMC

Hosanna Kobakoro ... teen pageant "isn't all about beauty, boobs and bimbos". Photo: Miss Teen Idaho

By Josephine Latu

Fiji-American teenager Hosanna Kobakoro is set to represent her home state in next year’s Miss Teen USA after winning the title of Miss Teen Idaho USA last weekend.

Seventeen-year-old Kobakor0, who holds dual Fiji-US citizenship, was also voted Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic.

As part of her prize, she has won a USD $45,000 scholarship to Lindenwood University.

The home-educated high school senior is preparing for a career as a political correspondent and boasts an impressive list of achievements that helped secure her the title – as well as a spot in America’s biggest teen pageant in the Bahamas next year.

Hosanna Kabakoro with former First Lady Laura Bush. Photo: PMC

Hosanna Kobakoro with former First Lady Laura Bush at the Prudential Spirit of Community State Awards ceremony in May. Photo: HSLDA

She is a US Congressional Award gold medallist, a National Discover Scholar, recipient of the 2009 Jefferson Award, and was recognised by former First Lady Laura Bush as one of American’s top 50 high school volunteers.

One of the programmes she founded, 2 Way Street, is aimed at helping refugees and at-risk immigrant youth adjust to life in the United States through public service, education and mentorship avenues.

“[The pageant] is not about beauty, boobs and bimbos,” said Kobakoro.

“It’s about empowered, confident young women making a difference in our communities through service, with style, grace and determination.”

Fiji childhood
“I love Idaho but my heart will always be home in Cakaudrove,” Kobakoro, who has dual citizenship, told the Fiji Times earlier this year.

Her parents, Ratu Lavisai Kabakoro of Cakaudrove and Summer Kabakoro, originally from Hawai’i, ran a free medical clinic in Naweni village. They migrated as a family to the United States three years ago, several years after a group of attackers raided their home during the 2000 coup and forced them to move to Suva.

“I miss the sound of the ocean crashing on the reef at night and the smell of the kerosene stove when my Nana makes us tea. I miss coconut oil and Punja’s tea and breakfast crackers and jalebi and the fish and chips from the place on Cummings Street,” she said.

Kobakoro added that she hoped to eventually return to Fiji and earn a law degree at the University of the South Pacific.

Miss Teen USA is an offshoot of the national Miss America pageant and targeted at young women aged 15-19. It is operated by the Miss Universe organisation.

Past winners have included actresses Kelly Hu, Bridgette Wilson and American television personality Vanessa Minillo.  – Pacific Media Centre

Josephine Latu is a postgraduate student in AUT’s School of Communication Studies.


  1. laminar_flow, 3. November 2009, 8:30

    Mega Kudos Hosanna.

  2. bulafan, 4. November 2009, 17:19

    Inspiring story. Great job Hosanna! Represent Cakaudrove!

  3. Leutele Grey, 6. November 2009, 14:34

    Way to go Hosanna. Your name says it all. What a mighty girl.