Crowned queen of the Pacific at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant in Apia, Samoa on Friday night, the Namosi native was full of gratitude and switched to her maternal dialect mid interview.
“Thank you so much to everyone, to all my aunts, all my friends thank you so much to my parents. Thank you so much to my mom who’s out in America. Your support, your love, your prayers — I can't even imagine but I thank you so much. Words can't express all this love and I can't begin to show my gratitude to her,” she said.
“I was privileged to stand on this stage with all of them, representing intelligence, representing courage, representing their culture and their uniqueness within the Pacific islands,” Miss Fiji said.
Dunn congratulated organisers of Vodafone Hibiscus Festival, Telecom Miss Fiji Pageant and the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant.
“I congratulate every secretariat and every government initiative who had taken this platform and taken it seriously, giving an opportunity to us as young women, especially as young Pacific Island women to be able to articulate, to be able to express ourselves and to be able to state that we are not only beautiful but we have intelligent minds and we have strength that comes from our roots and courage that comes from our parents, she said.
Dunn won ahead of Miss American Samoa Antonina Keka Lilomaiava (2nd), Miss Solomon Islands Camilla Grossmith (3rd), Miss Samoa Priscilla Olano (4th) and Miss Cook Islands Tepaeru Helen Toka (5th).
“We live to inspire, we hope to encourage. We stand on these stages not to look pretty, not to entertain only — but to genuinely give a voice to every young woman out there who think that pageants are not a place to be just because you are woman.”
A University of the South Pacific law graduate, Dunn was a paralegal at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions when she first entered the Hibiscus Festival in May.
“I do realize though that winning Miss Pacific Islands Pageant or being crowned tonight comes with a lot of responsibility so that's also something that I have to look forward to. 2016 was an amazing year for me having graduated from USP and having gone through the different pageants as the end of the year rolled in. So I thank everyone who made this possible,” Dunn said.
She won best pre-pageant interview (research topic) with a paper on technological effects on culture and history and the best traditional attire category which was designed by chaperone Shayneal Lal.