Augie’s Girl Takes On Bullying
Twelve-year-old Mahea Tulba went home from school one day, and her mom noticed something was wrong.
“I kept asking her what’s the matter, and she would say ‘nothing, everything is OK,’” recalls mom Kim. “I said are you sure, and she said, well, and as soon as she said well, I knew there was something going on. I asked, ‘Did somebody hurt you?’ And she broke down and started crying.”
Mom’s instincts were right. Tulba, a pretty pre-teen who happens to be the daughter of a local celebrity, was being bullied at school.
“Since my papa is Augie T., people just think of me as someone I’m not,” explains Mahea. “People would be really mean to me. They would say that I got a bunch of stuff because of it and I was spoiled because I got special treatment, and that wasn’t true.
“I was just like any other student. I try really hard in school.”
Tulba would ignore the teasing, but after about three months it started to bother her and she didn’t want it to go on anymore. At the suggestion of her mom she told her teacher, and the bullying has since stopped.
“My mom told me to stay strong and to not let it get to me,” she recalls. “But it made me sad because I’m a nice person. I try to be friends with everyone, and I wouldn’t want anyone to feel the way I did.”
Earlier this month, Tulba was crowned Miss Hawaii Jr. High School, which fittingly has a national platform called Crown C.A.R.E.S. (Create a Respectful Environment in Schools), a program designed for the High School and Collegiate America Pageant system aimed at raising awareness and teaching tolerance for a safe and bully-free environment to school-age children, youths and teens.
According to pageant state director Kristina Lum, the program (which also includes the Miss Hawaii Collegiate and Miss Hawaii High School America titles) has been working with state Rep. John Mizuno on promoting anti-bullying in Hawaii. “He invited us to be guest speakers at a Forum on Human Services and Juvenile Justice at the state Capitol last March,” notes Lum. “There were 50 delegates from the Philippines, including mayors of 25 provinces, Hawaii mayors and other VIPS. I spoke on behalf of the Department of Education (she’s a behavioral health specialist with DOE) on how we handle bullying in the schools, and Miss Hawaii High School 2012 Angelica Reyes shared a personal story on being bullied.”
Tulba believes it’s all the positive moments in her life that have helped her overcome the bullying she experienced. She’s never had self-esteem issues, but credits her involvement in pageants for boosting it. This was her fourth pageant – she also holds the titles of Princess Royal Dynasty American and Miss Pre-Teen Beauties of the Nation.
“My goal is to become Miss Hawaii Teen USA, and I also want to be Miss Universe one day,” says Tulba, who also enjoys singing, dancing and acting; and takes classes at Pas De Deux in Waipahu.
She volunteers at Waikiki Health Center, and hopes to expand her community service work. After high school, she plans to go to college with dreams of being on Broadway, adding that she has seen Wicked and went to New York to see Lion King.
She also hopes to see an end to bullying.
“There really isn’t a way to stop it completely because there will always be that one person,” she says. “But I want to be there for people who have gone through it, and to help them overcome it.”