Iolani graduate takes the Miss Oahu crown
By George Lam and Brian Tseng
Liane Nanea Kanani Mark, a 1995 Iolani graduate, was crowned Miss Oahu 2000 on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2000, passing the first qualifying round for the Miss America pageant in October.
Ms. Mark prepared vigorously for the pageant by practicing mock interviews and working out regularly for the swimsuit and evening-gown portions of the competition.
"It takes a lot of work," said Ms. Mark, "and you need to focus up until the pageant." She prepared extensively for her interview because "it is important to be a politician and be well spoken," according to Ms. Mark. "First impressions and confidence are the most important part of the judging."
Ms. Mark's platform for the interview portion involved helping children of divorce, since her parents were divorced when she was a child, and her mother moved to the mainland in 1990. Now Ms. Mark wishes to help children through the same difficulties that she faced.
She sang a piece from "Les Miserables" for the talent portion of the piece, but will switch her act to a jazz tune called "Red Hot in Blue" for the upcoming Miss Hawaii competition on June 9, to utilize her lounge-singer type of voice.
No stranger to the stage, Ms. Mark won the Hawaii Junior Miss competition in 1995 as an Iolani student. She also won the 1995 Sterling Scholarship award in speech and drama.
In her years at Iolani Ms. Mark was heavily involved in the Iolani Dramatic Players, and played leading roles in "All the Way Home," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," and "The Boy Friend."
"It doesn't surprise me at all," said Iolani chorus teacher Mr. John Alexander. "I worked with her in numerous drama productions. She was professional, enthusiastic, and so much fun to work with,".
Iolani was a great influence for Ms. Mark during her tough teenage years. "My three Mommies: Ms. Gail Schroers, Ms. Motoshige, and Ms. Cyrenne Okimura, were always there for me," she said.
After graduating from Yale with a double major in theater and psychology, she toured with a Yale women's singing group, Whim Ôn Rhythm, and played a small role in "Baywatch."
Ms. Mark has big plans for the future, looking ahead to television (possibly another, larger role in "Baywatch"), movies, Broadway performances, and the Miss Hawaii pageant, which, if she wins, leads to the Miss America pageant.
"She is going to find success wherever she goes," said Ms. Okimura, one of Ms. Mark's "mommies." "She is drop-dead-gorgeous, intelligent, good-hearted, and in my opinion she was one of the best dancers to come out of Iolani. She will be the next Miss Hawaii."
For now, Ms. Mark has been busy following her Miss Oahu victory. She has made frequent public appearances, including at the Sony Open, the Bridal Expo, and several teenage pageants, where she served as a judge.
She also received a Nextel cellular phone with six months of free air time, a $500 cash scholarship, lots of clothing, and free membership to a gym where she works out for her next competition.
The Miss Oahu pageant was a great experience for Ms. Mark who said, "People have a lot of misconceptions about pageants. People feel it's shallow, but it's a great opportunity. My new title helps get things done in the community."
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