Winning a pageant consists of beauty and brains — the typical trajectory of many. With long hours of preparation and hard work, Ken Jay Sablan Paulino acquired the title of “Mister Teen Guam 2019” and Zaria Jerese Muna Fejeran became “Miss Teen Guam 2019.” As summer passes by, both teens attempt to fulfill their mission as role models to the young population — to instill values such as humility and commitment.
14-year-old Ken Jay Sablan Paulino resides in the village of Talofofo, and he is a cultural dancer in Inetnon Gef’ pågo. He wanted to be a part of the pageant life since he was ten because he really wanted to experience what models go through — enthralled with the concept of modeling.
“In the beginning, I did not join pageants because I was really nervous, but my uncle talked to me and told me to really think about it.”
The platform for the Talofofo resident is really important to him because he finds it really inspiring when people from the island of Guam get global attention.
When Paulino first joined, he was really shy, but after the whole experience, he became more confident and opened up to others. To prepare for the pageant, he ran and lifted weights every other day to tone up his body.
Committed to the program, the 14-year-old went home after rehearsals and went over everything he was taught. The challenge that he encountered was making the decision to hang out with his friends or to spend time in modeling events.
“The hardest sacrifice was to cancel plans with my family because I love spending time with them, but I really had to stay focused.”
Paulino’s coach, Jazlene Tomagan, helped him with everything: from his poses, to how he should walk on stage, to what costumes would compliment him and to what makeup creates a lively countenance of him on stage.
Mister Teen Guam 2019 said that his biggest responsibility is to be a role model for the kids residing on the island or anyone who needs a figure to be inspired by. According to him, his plans for summer are to venture the island and stay true to his platform — to spread the culture around Guam.
“Since we need to know our roots and what we’re all about, I think cultural dancing is a great artistic form I can execute because every dance tells a different story.”
Paulino concluded with some advice for younger people — to fuse humility with hard work and dedication. “It is okay to be confident of oneself, but never be too confident.”
An aspiring criminal psychologist, Zaria Jerese Muna Fejeran, holds the title for “Miss Teen Guam 2019.” She encourages Generation Z to work toward their goals and to not let any obstacles hinder them from achieving their ambitions.
One night, the 18-year-old had a dream that she was part of a pageant. When she woke up, it sparked her interest.
“I shared the idea with my mom, and she took me to sign up. That is how the journey started.”
In order to prepare for the pageant, Fejeran worked on the skills that she was weak in, strengthening them with the help of her coaches Davelene Toves and Driana Mafnas.
Miss Teen Guam 2019 credits Maria and David Evangelista for making all her costumes, Driana Mafnas for helping her in how to walk and talk as well as being her hands in supplies, and Davelene Toves for making sure that everything her team works for is organized and ready to go.
“I had a great relationship with my team because they didn’t make me feel obligated to make any sacrifices.”
Since Fejeran did the pageant during her senior year, she was juggling it with academics, extracurriculars, and her social life. Fortunately, she was able to excel in all aspects due to her habit of planning ahead on time.
“Don’t let anything hold you back from the things you love, and be grateful for the blessings that we are offered in life.”
The whole pageant experience enabled Fejeran to see the event in a new perspective — finally understanding what it truly means to hold a title.
“It’s not about the way we look. It’s the message we are giving that will influence them.”
As Miss Teen Guam 2019, her other responsibilities are to be a great ambassador to her island and to give back to her community.
To end it off, Fejeran wanted to appreciate her mom for being her greatest support and for staying with her until now.
“I appreciate everything you have done for me, and I am grateful you are here to witness my greatest achievement.”
With a grandeur title in their hands, both teens are ready to serve their community and to be an inspiration to others this summer.
(Photo Courtesy of Leah’s Fabulous Productions)