Pohnpeian resident of Guam participating in Miss Earth Guam pageant

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By Bill Jaynes
The Kaselehlie Press
April 18, 2017
Pohnpei, FSM—Jenna Panuelo of Pohnpei is a contestant in the Miss Earth Guam pageant 2017 that will be held in June in Guam. She says that she is the first Pohnpeian contestant in the pageant’s history which began in 2008 and has been held annually since then.
The winner of the Miss Earth Guam pageant in June will represent Guam at the international Miss Earth pageant in October. The venue for that pageant has not yet been announced but there are currently rumors that it will be held in Cancun, Mexico.
According to the official rules for the pageant, a contestant must be between the ages of 17 and 26. She must either be currently attending High School or a graduate from High School. She must be single and never have been pregnant. She must be at least 5’4” tall and be able to represent the pageant not just as a beauty, which is also required, but as a person of good moral character who understands the environmental issues that affect the islands. They must also have been a resident of Guam for at least six months.


pageant 03Jenna graduated High School from Calvary Christian Academy in Pohnpei after transferring from Pohnpei Seventh Day Adventist School. She is currently in her second semester at Guam Community College.
Jenna’s mom, Janet Semes-Panuelo said that neither she nor her father, FSM’s Senator David Panuelo knew that she was going to enter and that some of what they’ve seen so far has been “shocking” by Pohnpeian standards. “She’s very adventurous and ambitious,” said Janet Semes-Panuelo, Jenna’s mom. “She seems to like the exposure, so we’re supporting her...As you said when you worked with her last year. She’s a natural.”
“The theme of the pageant is perfect for me since I am from Pohnpei, I understand the many environmental challenges that we are facing today,” she wrote. “So for me, I am glad that I can be a part of this program to help our Mother Earth. I really feel nervous, but I try not to show it. As I am getting further into this journey, I am feeling more and more confident. The people I am surrounded with in this competition are very positive and they give me good vibes!”
“I felt very nervous when I heard we were doing a bikini (photo) shoot because other than the little kids, no one wears bikinis or swim suits back home,” Jenna wrote.
From the unofficial photos, she seemed to carry the photo session off quite well despite her nervousness.
To be sure, the Miss Earth Guam is about beauty but the idea of the pageant is to use beauty as a tool to promote international environmental awareness.
“It was created out of the focus and determination to empower local youth and adults to take on environmental issues and projects,” Jenna wrote from Guam. “So far we have been doing cleanups around the island, planting trees for our earth, and attending conferences about Energy Efficiency.”
She said that though the rules for the pageant are stringent and require that all contestants attend and participate in all events unless previously approved, the contestants have not yet had a full group photo due to the absence of some of the contestants who Jenna said were busy. “Our supervisor, Josh Leon Guerrero, wants us to understand that school comes first, then family, and then the pageant. He is very understanding, as long as we communicate. He is helping us to build our character. Josh and John Cortez have been great helps for us girls. They help us completely on their own time. It’s just something they love to do.”

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Though there was no entry fee for the pageant, contestants who drop out of the contest will be required to pay an unspecified fee. Jenna has no intention of dropping out, even though the event has so far stretched her in ways she hadn’t expected.
The annual Miss Earth Guam pageant will be held in June. Jenna says that the preliminary pageant will be on June 13. The winner of that pageant will represent Guam at the international competition in October.