Miss Maui Filipina 2022 Lennel Joy Felix Alvarez
Everything happens for a reason.
Alfredo G. Evangelista | Assistant Editor
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1–8. On June 4, 2022, Lennel Joy Felix Alvarez was crowned Miss Maui Filipina 2022. “My first reaction when I learned that I was Miss Maui Filipina was just shocked,” says Alvarez. “I didn’t think I would win so I was just overwhelmed with excitement and shock. I was very, very happy to have won but it was just so unexpected. To this day, I still can’t believe that I won and am Miss Maui Filipina.”
The twenty-one-year-old Filipina was born and raised on Maui. She is the eldest of five children born to Arnel and Arlene Alvarez. “My parents immigrated from the Philippines when they were teenagers, my father from Cagayan and my mother from Laoag” explains Alvarez. “I have two brothers: AJ, who is nineteen years old and Angello, who is thirteen years old and my twin sisters Leanne and Lexxie who are six years old.”
The accomplished Maui High School alum (Valedictorian, 2018) already had her Associate in Liberal Arts and Associates of Science in Nursing from the University of Hawai‘i Maui College when she became a contestant. “I decided to become a contestant for the Miss Maui Filipina pageant because I wanted to take the opportunity to earn a scholarship that will support me in receiving my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In a meeting with Aunty Michelle Santos, I asked about the prizes that could be won in the pageant. She listed the prizes for the queen, first runner-up, and second runner-up, and the $500 cash prize for Most Ads Sold. I mostly ran for the pageant for the $500 cash prize, because $500 can cover my cost of books.”
Once she committed, she prepared herself. “Being that the Miss Maui Filipina pageant was my first pageant ever, I did not know where to start,” explains Alvarez. “I knew I had to prepare myself physically and mentally for what was to come for the pageant. I went to the gym to prepare my body for the swimsuit competition. I caught myself up on state, national, and global current events, as well as participated in mock interviews to prepare me for the pre-pageant interview. A big portion of preparing myself was to gain more self-confidence to be able to even be on stage and perform to the best of my ability.”
She did have her fears about the Miss Maui Filipina pageant. “My greatest fear in becoming a contestant for the Miss Maui Filipina pageant was disappointing my loved ones,” Alvarez admits. “But I overcame my fear by continually telling myself that I am running for Miss Maui Filipina for myself and no one else. This is all about self-growth and if I can be proud of myself by the end of the pageant, I will be happy.”
Alvarez did not disappoint. She won several awards during the Miss Maui Filipina Pageant (Most Ads, Most Tickets, Most Photogenic and Terno Design as well as the Interview and Terno Speech.) Rochelle Balala won Miss Congeniality; Ahlyzxie Calleda won the Social Media Award; Kailee Delos Santos was the Second Runner up while Shay-Lea Ruiz, who won the Swimsuit and Talent, was the First Runner Up.
After a number of appearances as the Miss Maui Filipina, Alvarez was off to Honolulu to participate in the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina pageant. “After the Miss Maui Filipina pageant, I had a good foundation on what I needed to do for the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Pageant. I decided to keep myself in shape by going to the gym with Aunty Myrna Breen. I also continued to stay up to date with the current events, globally, nationally, and locally. I continued to work on my talent and my speech, making sure my speech was impactful and unique.”
Alvarez felt her best attributes for the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina pageant were her “transparency, humbleness, and passion to serve my community.” Similar to the Miss Maui Filipina pageant, Alvarez’ greatest fear in competing during the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina pageant “was disappointing, not only my loved ones but my Maui Filipino community. I told myself I am running for Miss Hawai‘i Filipina for myself and no one else. I kept telling myself that as long as I am proud of myself at the end of the night, I will be happy!”
At the end of the night, Alvarez won First Runner Up. “I’m extremely proud of my performance,” says Alvarez “and I am deeply grateful to have won three out of the four competition awards: Best in Swimsuit, Best in Terno Speech, and Best in Interview.” She also won the non-competition awards of Best in Terno Design, Most Ads Sold, and Miss Congeniality.
When asked to reflect on the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina pageant, Alvarez expressed thanks to everyone who supported her. “This journey for the Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Pageant has been crazy but worthwhile. I learned more about myself in the process. I also gained more self confidence in myself and what I do. It was a very challenging experience but very rewarding. I’m glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to continue to flourish into the best woman I can possibly be. I’m thankful for all the friendships I have made during this journey and I will continue to support them in everything they do. I’m grateful to have had a wonderful and supportive team of pageant Aunties who coached me throughout this process. I’m thankful for my family, friends, supporters and sponsors that have guided me, believed in me, and supported me throughout this journey. I love you all!”
Alvarez has her mind set on her goals. “My goals as Miss Maui Filipina revolve around educating our Filipino community on the health concerns and issues facing Filipinos today, while also inspiring the youth of today to become the leaders they want to be. My ultimate goal is to host a health fair that is geared to educate our Filipino community, which will include games, singing, and dancing.”
But before she could really start her reign, Alvarez returned to Honolulu on August 12 to take the NLCEX-RN exam. On August 14, she learned she passed and added another feather to her cap. “You are now looking at Miss Maui Filipina 2022, Lennel Joy Felix Alvarez, RN,” she posted on her social media accounts.
Yes, Lennel, everything happens for a reason. Congratulations and as we Pinoys love to say, “More power to you!”
Alfredo G. Evangelista and his wife Bessy attended the 2022 Miss Hawai‘i Filipina Pageant to support Lennel Joy Alvarez. They stayed up until 4:30 a.m. in the Alvarez hospitality suite along with Maui’s Pageant Director Michelle Santos just unwinding and sharing in fellowship, food and needed beverages.