Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 22 Oct 2019 12am







    Sunday, October 20, 2019-8:40:45A.M.






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NMC student Shannon Sasamoto is 2019 Miss Marianas

NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD Shannon Tudela Sasamoto was crowned the 2019 Miss Marianas on Saturday in the Hibiscus Hall of Fiesta Resort and Spa.

Sharon Palacios was first runner-up, while Riane Capalad was second runner-up.

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From left, Merly-Ann Fernandez, Junalyn Billedo, 2019 Miss Marianas Shannon Sasamoto, 1st runner-up Sharon Palacios, Dierra Palacios, and 2nd runner-up Riane Capalad.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

In a post-pageant interview, Sasamoto said she plans to get more involved in the community. “I want to be very much a part of the community and I really want to raise awareness about our environment.”

Sasamoto said her Miss Marianas journey was not easy. “I was very hard on myself, but my ‘pageant sisters’ made everything so much better. I am so happy that I have these women,” she added, referring to this year’s other contestants.

Sasamoto is a full-time business management student at Northern Marianas College.

During the competition’s final Q&A portion, Sasamoto was asked what emotion she would want to erase forever.

“There is no emotion I would erase because all emotions that we go through are what make us a person…and [they help us] develop into the person we should become. Emotions would develop you to become your own inspiration and that is what I am doing, standing here on this stage right now,” she said.

For first runner-up Sharon Palacios, she would erase fear. “It stops us from reaching our full potential, and it is just an internal obstacle that we can easily overcome.”

Riane Capalad, the second runner-up, said she wanted to erase colonial mentality and racism “to eradicate the barriers of culture, language and gender — to just make a stand and show to the world who we are with acceptance, with diversity, and with love.”

The first Marianas Gem “People’s Choice” Award went to Sharon Palacios who garnered the highest online vote on

The awardee represents the Marianas through her spirit of hospitality, beauty, love and respect for the islands.

The Stellar Star Award went to Dierra Palacios for displaying enthusiasm, commitment and dedication by attending all Stellar events, activities and rehearsals.

The 2019 Best Hair TRESemmé Award went to Riane Capalad who was also named Miss Marianas Friendship by the other contestants for working well with others and promoting friendship.

This year’s Miss Marianas Photogenic is Sharon Palacios. She was selected by media members for her beauty, appeal, visual impact and natural projection.

The Best in National Costume Award went to Dierra Palacios who was also the Best in Evening Wear.

Shannon Sasamoto was named Best in Swimsuit. As the new Miss Marianas, she received $1,500 cash from Stellar Marianas; $1,000 cash from TRESemmé and Dickerson & Quinn International Distributors; one-year use of a brand new 2019 Hyundai Kona from Triple J Motors; one-year paid internship travel; one year scholarship from Northern Marianas College; a brand new cell phone and one-year unlimited service and data from IT&E; one-year membership and a personal trainer at Gold’s Gym Saipan; one-year subscription to Marianas Variety; beauty product gifts from DFS Saipan; a gift from Tribe Marianas; an exclusive 12-piece work, travel and play purse and bag ensemble from Gigi Hill; a product gift set from TRESemmé; a gift and cash from 670 Rock Steady Shop; a professional model portfolio from MyCaptures Photography; a four-piece luggage set from Stellar Marianas; a wardrobe set and gifts from Pena House and Iridescent Boutique; and a gift from Pacifica Insurance.

In addition, Sasamoto will have the opportunity to compete in the Miss Universe pageant with Tan Siu Lin Foundation as her sponsor; and in the Miss International pageant with Stellar Marianas as her sponsor.

This year’s pageant judges were Christina Foo, travel industry marketing manager of DFS Saipan Limited; Iowani Unpingco, a professional model and social influencer with over 50,000 followers as well as an internationally recognized make-up artist; Priscilla Maratita Iakopo, managing director of the Marianas Visitors Authority; Tayna Belyeu-Camacho, 1993 Miss Marianas International, and currently the program leader for the Family, Community and Youth Development Program within the Cooperative Research, Extension and Education Service or CREES at NMC; and Carline B. Sablan, community relations director for Tan Holdings.

View more photos from the event in our gallery