Haylani Kuruppu (Miss Global 2023- 1st Runner up): A Trailblazing Samoan-Australian Beauty Queen, Athlete, and Advocate


In the dynamic world of beauty pageants, one name has recently emerged as a trailblazer, rewriting the history books for Samoa and inspiring countless individuals worldwide. Haylani Kuruppu, a Samoan-Australian beauty queen, social worker, fitness trainer, author, and physiotherapy student, has shattered barriers and made an indelible mark in the international beauty pageant scene. This blog delves into the extraordinary journey of Haylani Kuruppu, chronicling her rise from Melbourne to becoming the first Samoan to achieve the prestigious title of first runner-up at the Miss Global 2023 pageant.

Early Life and Multicultural Upbringing

Born in Melbourne, Australia, to Samoan parents who migrated from Samoa in the 1980s, Haylani Kuruppu grew up in a multicultural environment that instilled in her a deep appreciation for her Samoan heritage. Her parents’ diverse backgrounds—a Samoan mother and a Sri Lankan father—provided her with a unique perspective on cultural diversity and acceptance. Despite facing cultural and religious differences within her own family, with her father being a Buddhist and her mother a Christian, Haylani learned to embrace both her Samoan and Sri Lankan roots.

Educational and Multifaceted Achievements

Haylani Kuruppu’s educational journey and achievements reflect her commitment to excellence. Attending St. Monica’s College in Epping, she excelled not only academically but also in sports and the arts. Her involvement in various community and charity projects, such as volunteering at a local nursing home and raising funds for cancer research, showcased her early dedication to making a positive impact on the world around her.

Passion for Beauty Pageants

Inspired by her mother, a former Miss Samoa contestant, Haylani Kuruppu developed a passion for beauty pageants at a young age. Her journey began at 16 when she won the title of Miss Teen Victoria 2019. Subsequently, she participated in national and international pageants, including Miss Teen Australia, Miss Teen International, and Miss Teen World, laying the foundation for her future groundbreaking achievements.

Miss Samoa 2022 and Advocacy

In 2022, Haylani Kuruppu decided to represent the Samoan diaspora in Australia by entering the Miss Melbourne pageant. Winning the crown opened the door for her to compete in the Miss Samoa pageant, sponsored by Vodafone Samoa. This marked her first visit to Samoa, where she was warmly welcomed by relatives and the local community. Haylani’s intelligence, grace, talent, and dedication impressed the judges, leading to her being crowned Miss Samoa 2022.

As Miss Samoa, she embraced the privilege and responsibility of promoting Samoa’s tourism, culture, and development. Her advocacy extended to women’s empowerment, youth education, and environmental sustainability. Haylani’s impact transcended borders as she traveled to various countries, participating in regional and international events, including the Miss Pacific Islands pageant, where she secured the first runner-up position.

Literary Accomplishments: “Haylanni: The Journey to Miss Samoa”

One of Haylani Kuruppu’s most remarkable achievements during her tenure as Miss Samoa was the publication of a children’s book titled “Haylanni: The Journey to Miss Samoa.” Launched with the support of Samoa Stationery and Books, the book narrates Haylani’s personal journey from Melbourne to Samoa, highlighting the challenges and opportunities she encountered along the way. The book aims to inspire the young generation of Samoa to pursue their dreams and take pride in their identity and heritage.

Academic and Professional Pursuits

While fulfilling her duties as Miss Samoa, Haylani Kuruppu pursued her academic and professional goals. Enrolling in a physiotherapy degree program at the Australian Catholic University, she successfully balanced her studies with her pageant commitments. Additionally, she worked as a social worker and fitness trainer, demonstrating her commitment to improving both physical and mental well-being within her community.

Miss Global Samoa 2023: Making History

In 2023, Haylani Kuruppu received the prestigious title of Miss Global Samoa from Vodafone Samoa, marking her as the first Samoan to compete in the Miss Global pageant. The international beauty contest celebrates the diversity of women from different countries and cultures. Haylani’s journey led her to Vietnam and Cambodia for the 10th-anniversary edition of the Miss Global pageant (Miss Global 2023), where she competed against over 60 contestants.

Haylani’s stunning looks, confident personality, and impressive performance captivated the judges and viewers alike. Throughout the competition, she showcased her Samoan culture and heritage in various segments, including the national costume, swimsuit, evening gown, and talent portions. Her eloquence and advocacy for women’s empowerment were evident in the interview and speech segments. Haylani’s remarkable journey culminated in her standing on stage with Miss Puerto Rico as the final two contestants, ultimately securing the title of the first runner-up.

Historic Achievement and Global Recognition

Haylani Kuruppu’s achievement at the Miss Global 2023 pageant marked a historic moment for Samoa, as she became the highest-placed Samoan in any international beauty pageant. The outpouring of support and congratulations from her family, friends, fans, and fellow Samoans underscored the pride and honor she brought to her country. Recognition and appreciation flowed in from the Samoan government, the Miss Global organization, and various media outlets.

Beyond Beauty: Haylani as a Role Model

Haylani Kuruppu transcends the conventional image of a beauty queen. She is a multifaceted individual—a role model, a leader, a trailblazer, and a history maker. Her journey illustrates that with hard work, determination, passion, and faith, one can achieve the seemingly impossible. Moreover, she exemplifies that beauty extends beyond the superficial, encompassing inner qualities such as character, values, and vision.

Inspiration for Samoan Women

Haylani Kuruppu’s story serves as an inspiration, particularly for young Samoan women aspiring to achieve their goals and make a positive difference in the world. Her accomplishments break down barriers and challenge stereotypes, showcasing the limitless potential within the Samoan community. By embracing her heritage and culture, Haylani has become a beacon of empowerment for Samoan women on a global scale.

Haylani Kuruppu’s Social and Charity Work

Haylani Kuruppu is not only a beauty queen, but also a social and charity worker. She has been involved in various causes and organizations, both in Samoa and Australia, that aim to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Some of the causes and organizations that Haylani supports are:

  • Samoa Cancer Society: Haylani Kuruppu is an ambassador for the Samoa Cancer Society, which provides support and care for cancer patients and their families, as well as education and awareness on cancer prevention and treatment. Haylani has participated in several events and campaigns organized by the society, such as the Pinktober Campaign, which raises funds and awareness for breast cancer, and the Relay for Life, which celebrates the lives of cancer survivors and remembers those who have passed away.
  • Samoa Red Cross Society: Haylani is a volunteer for the Samoa Red Cross Society, which provides humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the people of Samoa. Haylani has helped the society in various ways, such as donating blood, distributing food and water, and providing first aid and psychosocial support to the affected communities.
  • Samoa Tourism Authority: Haylani is a sales and marketing officer for the Samoa Tourism Authority, which promotes and develops Samoa as a tourist destination. Haylani has been involved in various projects and activities that showcase the beauty, culture, and hospitality of Samoa, such as the Teuila Festival, the Samoa Tourism Exchange, and the Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition. She has also represented Samoa at various international tourism events and expos, such as the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, and the World Travel Market.
  • Samoa Basketball Federation: Haylani is a member of the Samoa national women’s basketball team, which represents Samoa at regional and international competitions. Haylani has been playing basketball since she was a child, and has competed at various levels, such as the Australian National Basketball League, the Pacific Games, and the FIBA Oceania Championship. She is also a coach and mentor for young basketball players in Samoa, and helps them develop their skills and confidence.
  • Samoa Women in Leadership: Haylani is a supporter of Samoa Women in Leadership, which is a network of women leaders and professionals who advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Samoa. Haylani has attended and spoken at various events and workshops organized by the network, such as the Women in Leadership Dialogue, the Women in Business Awards, and the Women in Sports Leadership Forum. She has also shared her story and advice with other aspiring women leaders and entrepreneurs in Samoa.

Haylani Kuruppu’s Future Plans and Goals

Haylani Kuruppu has achieved a lot in her reign as Miss Samoa and Miss Global Samoa, but she is not done yet. She has many plans and goals for the future, both personal and professional.

Some of the things that Haylani wants to do in the future are:

  • Continue to serve Samoa through basketball: Haylani is looking forward to representing Samoa at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands in July 2024, as a member of the national women’s basketball team. She hopes to bring home a medal and make Samoa proud. She also wants to continue to coach and mentor young basketball players in Samoa, and help them reach their potential.
  • Pursue a career in sales and marketing: Haylani has enjoyed working as a sales and marketing officer for the Samoa Tourism Authority, and has learned a lot from the role. She wants to pursue a career in this field, and use her skills and experience to promote and sell various products and services, both in Samoa and abroad. She also wants to further her education and qualifications in this area, and possibly start her own business someday.
  • Write more books: Haylani has discovered her passion and talent for writing, and wants to write more books in the future. She wants to write about different topics and genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s books. She also wants to write in different languages, such as Samoan, English, and Sinhalese. She hopes that her books will inspire and entertain readers of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Start a family: Haylani is looking forward to settling down and starting a family someday. She wants to have a loving husband and children, and raise them in Samoa. She wants to pass on her culture and values to her children, and teach them to love and respect themselves and others. She also wants to be a good role model and support for her family, and balance her personal and professional life.

Haylani Kuruppu is a remarkable woman who has done amazing things for Samoa and the world. She is a beauty queen, an author, a basketball player, and a social and charity worker. She is also a proud Samoan, a passionate advocate, and a humble servant. She is an inspiration and a role model for many, especially women and youth. She is a true history maker and a global citizen.

Closing Thoughts: Haylani Kuruppu, A Global Citizen

In conclusion, Haylani Kuruppu’s journey from Melbourne to becoming the first Samoan to secure the first runner-up title at the Miss Global 2023 pageant is a testament to her resilience, dedication, and passion. More than just a beauty queen, she has proven herself as a socially conscious individual, an advocate for positive change, and a trailblazer for her nation. Haylani Kuruppu stands as a shining example of a modern, confident, and empowered woman—a true global citizen. Her legacy serves as an inspiration for generations to come, encouraging individuals worldwide to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination and pride in their cultural identity.

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