The 18-year-old Sydney-based model had always wanted to be a part of the pageant and that opportunity came about this year.
Representing Atiu, the island of her ancestral roots, Miss Enuamanu put on a spectacular show to become crowned Miss Maine Kuki Airani in the Miss Cook Islands Pageant Association event on Saturday night at the National Auditorium.
“I feel very deserving actually,” said the outspoken Simonis a day later when CI News caught up with her during the pageant lunch.
“It’s the best feeling, especially for someone who has been involved in culture for so long. It’s a great recognition for me and I’m thankful for that.
“I have never done a pageant in my life but Miss Cook Islands is always a goal for culture-orientated girls and for me, it was something that was kind of in the back of my mind and it’s something that I always wanted to do.
“It’s definitely been one of my goals so I can tick that off the list.”
The rising Australian model and dancer, who is half Cook Islander, half Russian, was first introduced to the local culture through dancing at the age of six.
During her few months’ stay in Atiu, she went to a school on the island where she learned local dance before moving back to Australia. The dance was one of the things she took back home with her.
“I entered in a lot of competitions and my father tutored me my whole life. His discipline is what made me appreciate my culture,” Simonis said.
“Dancing gave me opportunity to travel and experience new things. It’s where I get a chance to hang out with my friends.
“I actually feel confident when I’m on stage because of dancing.”
That stage confidence, among other things, led to one of Simonis’ greatest and memorable achievements over the weekend, the Miss Cook Islands title. However, the elated yet humble Simonis knows her Miss Cook Islands journey is not over yet as she looks forward to the challenges ahead of her over the next two years.
Former Miss Cook Islands Felicia George has set a benchmark for representing the country well at the international stage, especially after finishing third in the Miss Asia Pacific Pageant in Philippines last year.
Simonis’ journey begins with the Miss Pacific Pageant in Fiji later in the year.
“I don’t want to compare myself to anyone else’s journey. I think Felicia has done an awesome job but I definitely won’t compare my journey to hers,” she said.
“I don’t see myself as the greatest pageant girl, but when I do something, I just want to give my best.
“If it doesn’t turn out to be good, I will still take the experience and be happy about it.”
But Simonis is unlikely to give up on her upcoming challenges without a fight.
She knows doing well in the Miss Pacific Pageant would mean another tick off her bucket list.
Contestants – Miss Enuamanu - Lydia Tariu Simonis, Miss Tongareva - Porau Soatini, Miss Palmerston - Bianca Barone, Miss Manihiki - Rosemarie Trego, Miss Aitutaki - Kathleen Enoka, Miss Takitumu - Rititia Sellars and Miss Pukapuka, Ernestina Bonsu–Maro.
Maine Tepaeru – Miss Pukapuka, Ernestina Bonsu–Maro; Maine Purotu – Miss Tongareva, Porau Soatini, Miss Congeniality – Miss Tongareva, Miss Photogenic – Miss Enuamanu; Talent – Miss Tongareva, Interview – Miss Pukapuka, Beach Wear – Miss Enuamanu, Evening Gown – Miss Enuamanu