Home Institution

Vassar College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


This paper investigates the Miss Samoa pageant’s historical origins, cultural relevance and preservation, the ways in which it empowers women, the public’s perspective, and future development. Secondary sources on the pageant were limited to eight pieces, so interviews with judges, contestants, winners, and participants were sources of information. Sixty surveys were also conducted to gain the public’s perspective of the pageant. The study found Miss Samoa is more popular for its entertainment value than cultural relevance. The Miss Samoa pageant has been utilized as an agent of empowerment for individual women but is not necessarily influential on a larger social scale. The results also suggest the pageant been blended into Samoa as more of an indigenous pageant than a beauty pageant. The pageant’s capabilities are limited due to the boundaries imposed by tourism-driven motivations. In order to encourage future development, the Miss Samoa pageant would need to prioritize locality as the paramount focus.


Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology of Culture | Women's Studies