Third generation University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa alumna and former Rainbow Wahine water polo player and swimmer Lauren Kealohilani Cheape was crowned Miss Hawaiʻi 2011.
Competing under the title of Miss East Oʻahu, Cheape wowed the judges with a jump rope routine to Jerry Lee Lewis rock ’n’ roll classic Great Balls of Fire and won the awards for Community Service and Best Swimsuit. She will represent Hawaiʻi in the 2012 Miss America competition in Las Vegas in January.
A Mililani High School graduate and dean’s list scholar athlete, Cheape majored in film at Mānoa with minors in business and Japanese. Her film Ling hing mui, Lilikoi, Lychee was shown at Hawaiʻi, Shanghai and Los Angeles International Film Festivals. She talks about her Academy for Creative Media experience on camera.
Cheape plans to complete a master’s in business administration and hopes to become a filmmaker. In the meantime, she is urging the National Collegiate Athletic Association to implement a mentoring program that she conceived during college. Called C.A.R.E, it places college athletes in the community to encouraging young people to participate in athletics, excel in academics and have a healthy lifestyle.
She traces her own interest in physical fitness to a school visit from an American Heart Association jump rope team when she was in kindergarten.
At 5-foot-2, she was the smallest member of the UH Rainbow Wahine water polo team, she told KHON2 news in a pre-competition interview. “It was really amazing for me to be able to play with girls from Australia and the Netherlands, and I would always work harder in order to keep up,” she says.
But then, hard work comes naturally to a young woman who grew up on a family egg farm in Wahiawā. (See the Mālamalama profile of her egg-farming mother Sharon Cheape.)
And should she win the Miss America title, Cheape will pass the Miss Hawaiʻi crown to a fellow former Rainbow Wahine athlete. First runner-up Shannon Dresser ran crosscountry and track and is a feature baton twirler for the UH Marching Band. Read the Mālamalama profile on Dresser.