Beauty Begins With Self-image

Miss Hawaii USA Moani Hara | Photo by Brice Kurihara/BK photo

Miss Hawaii USA Moani Hara | Photo by Brice Kurihara/BK photo

Miss Hawaii USA Moani Hara, 24, has a body that many would envy. But through her career as a model, she’s discovered that what’s important is not what others see but how she feels about herself. And that’s something she hopes other girls will value, especially in today’s society where people, including the media, can be so critical of how you look.

Hara, who was born and raised in Nuuanu, also won the swimsuit and evening gown phases in Miss Hawaii USA. In preparation for the pageant, she worked with personal trainer Matt Jones and worked out four days a week. She also spent time running on the treadmill, hiking (she likes Koko Head and Diamond Head) and wakeboarding, and ate a healthy diet consisting of protein shakes, vegetables, chicken, fish and brown rice.

Growing up, Hara says she’s always been active – she played club volleyball and AYSO soccer, paddled for Outrigger Canoe Club and dirt-biked.

“I have all guy cousins, and with me being the only girl, I wanted to hang out with them, so it was either play basketball, soccer or something they did,” she explains.

Nowadays, she works out twice a week but plans to increase that to four days a week again as it gets closer to Miss USA, which is slated for late spring/early summer.

She also continues to eat healthy foods, including salads, brown rice and Brussels sprouts, which are her favorite. She does admit a weakness for desserts, noting that she loves ice cream and is obsessed with cheesecake.

“You don’t necessarily have to be on a diet,” says Hara. “It’s just knowing what’s healthy, moderation and being happy with yourself.”

Her workout must-haves include:

* lululemon clothes
* Nike shoes
* Pandora (she listens to workout radio)
* iPhone with earphones
* Hawaiian Springs Water
* Rodan + Fields sunscreen
* Arbonne lip gloss

“My motivation to live a healthy lifestyle comes from seeing some of my family members pass away from being overweight,” she says. “Also, having little cousins, and my friend’s daughters look up to me – it just keeps me going, and I want to show them how to live a healthy lifestyle and be a good role model.

“Being in the industry that I am in with modeling, it’s all about body and having that perfect image – they’ll say you’re too fat or too skinny, or too this or too that, and I struggled with that for a little bit in the beginning. But I’ve learned that you just have to be content with yourself. To me, the perfect woman is not necessarily looks, shape or size, it’s being able to wake up every morning and being completely content with yourself and to live your life with a purpose. Looks fade over time, but that mindset will never go away.”