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August 2006

Pacific Northwest News

Moni`que’s F.A.T. Chance: A Dream Come True

By Victoria Tupua

Last year, Oxygen Network and Mo’Nique started something big with Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance - television’s first full-figured reality beauty competition. Encouraging women everywhere to accept and embrace their curves, F.A.T. Chance is all about teaching plus-sized glamour girls to love and feel good about themselves (and their bodies) as they are. Talk about a revolution! Victoria Tupua of Seattle Washington was one out of thousands of women across the country chosen to appear on the popular television show Moni`ques F.A.T. (Fabulous And Thick) Chance, sponsored by the Oxygen Channel. Below is her description of the adventure:

“Moni’ques F.A.T Chance” (Fabulous And Thick). This year they did a five-state tour with Washington being the third. There was a casting call held at the Key Arena in Seattle and the place was packed. Well, to make a long story short, after interviews with executive producers, the few thousand who showed up were narrowed down to fifteen from the state of Washington. Sitting there among other BEAUTIFUL women, I was totally telling my friend that the next contestant they call will be her. And then I heard my name being blasted over the system “ Victoria Mao”. Dang, it sounded so weird! It actually sounded like it was being said in slow motion. I was then interviewed by Moni’que herself and informed that they will contact me after the tour ended. Three weeks later I got a call from one of the producers of the show to let me know that the tour was complete and from the thousands of women, they narrowed it down to fifty semi-finalists and I was one of them. Wow! I was like, are you serious? He then let me know that after the weekend they would know who the top 10 contestants were. I received the call on the following Monday that I was chosen as one of the top 10. From a five-state tour and from thousands of women, I was picked to represent Seattle, Washington ! I was flown to California that Friday and along with the other contestants, stayed in the Rocks Mansion during the ten days I was filming and prepping for the show.

It took a lot of work to learn the runway etiquettes; it’s not as easy as it appears. It was also well worth the sweat and tears. Hearing Moni’que announce my name and walking out on stage in front of all those people was exhilarating. I’ve come full circle from the little fat girl nicknamed “Baby Hulk”, to the beautiful sexy Polynesian Queen that walked the runway that special evening.

This entire experience was awesome! Being one of ten picked from thousands of women across the country is an unforgettable event. I am Samoan/Tokelauan descent and I was determined to do my best in representing my beautiful Polynesian people.

Alofa Atu - Victoria I.Tupua

Victoria Tupua was born in Torrance, California, raised in Long Beach and moved to Seattle in 1987. Her parents are Fanupo Taumalelei Tautolo from Fagatoga, American Samoa and her mother is Ilasa Mao from Atafu, Tokelau. Victoria is married to Sofara “Vai” Tupua and has three boys: Nikko, Lukas and Loritana.

Moni`que’s F.A.T. Chance premiered on July 15, 2006. Check www.oxygen.com for the schedule of showings.

Grant Higa, Strongman from Hawai`i

By NWHIT Staff

The World Strongman Cup Federation presents the world’s strongest athletes demonstrating the incredible power and strength that the human body is capable of. Using only their physical prowess and mental skills, these incredible individuals continually push the boundaries of sports performance. ( from www.world-strongmancup.com)

Hawai`i can boast of its own strongman in Grant Higa, who was born in Honolulu and moved to the Big Island when he was 12. After graduating from Waiākea High School (’88) and the University of Hawai`i-Hilo (’93), Grant came to the Pacific Northwest, first to Corvallis, Oregon and then to Seattle, Washington. He recently performed so well in three Strongman contests in Denver, Canada and Germany that he was invited to the World Strongman Cup that just took place on July 29th in Moscow, Russia.

Strongman Grant Higa lifts a 330 lb log at the 2006 Central USA Strongman Challenge in Kokomo, Indiana on July 1, 2006

Grant was a competitive Powerlifter when in 1998, a friend in Honolulu invited him to a Strongman contest “The Beauty & The Beast Strongman Challenge” held in the Kodak Theater at the Waikiki Shell and featuring Magnus VerMagnusson and local Hawai`i athletes such as Joe Onosai. “I was hooked ever since then!” said Higa, who is 5’8” tall and weighs 295 lbs.

The World Strongman Cup (WSMC) Federation holds competitions in disciplines such as Push, Pull, Carry, Throw, Lift and Hold, with categories as Car Flip, Truck Pull, Tire Flip and Log Lift. Grant said, “I got hooked into Strongman because it is so unorthodox. Yes, bench-pressing 500 lbs is very good, but when you see a guy pulling a semi-truck or flipping a 900 lb tire, it is a lasting impression! Plus, you are able to win some prize money for your efforts and travel around the world competing against top international athletes.”

Grant is a personal trainer at Vulcan Inc and lives in Maple Valley, Washington with his wife Michelle. His parents Janice and Guy Higa and his sister Chiemi live in Mountain View, Hawai`i.

Punahou Football and Girls Volleyball Teams Come to the Northwest For Emerald City Weekend

Punahou High School in Honolulu is bringing 125 students, faculty and administrators to Seattle over the Labor Day Weekend to participate in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Volleyball and Football Invitational. In addition to these games, Punahou invites everyone to join them at a golf tournament, pre-game rally and lu`au over the weekend. For details, visit www.eckclassic.com and www.punahou.edu/seattle.

Click on a photo to read profiles of a few of the Punahou players who will be traveling to the Pacific Northwest:

J.J. Autele Larissa Haley Nordyke Liz Kaaihue
Brett Kan River Kim


Hot Summer Events in the Northwest



Eric Gilliom & Willie K in Portland to kick off their brand new release Barefoot Natives.

Photo by Ed Tanaka


Led Ka`apana opens for Barefoot Natives

Photo by Ed Tanaka


Jake Shimabukuro in Seattle, stops by the Muzak office of NWHIT's Gregg Porter for a short concert and conversation with music programmers.

Photo by Ed Tanaka


Proud Papa and owner of Pac Island Grill ion Federal Way David Landon with daughter Kalia Lei, showing off awards for Best Entree (Loli Chicken and Kalbi Combo) and Best Booth design as the Taste of Tacoma 2006!

Photo by Ed Tanaka

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