Former Miss Hawaii Kanoe Miller shares life wisdom

Using her talents to share Hawaii's culture and encouraging others to find their strengths

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Kanoe Miller has been the featured dancer at the Halekulani since 1977. She studied hula with Maiki Aiu Lake when she was 13 years old. In 1973, Miller won the Miss Hawaiʻi America title and travelled the world representing Hawaiʻi’s aloha spirit.

“When I represented Hawai’i in the Miss America Pageant, of course I hoped to place or win because I wanted to represent my state, and do well,” she explains. “But in my heart, I knew I was comfortable if I did not place or win because I felt that representing Hawaiʻi, my home, was more important to me and that it was something I could do well.”

For most of her professional life, Miller balanced two careers: modeling and hula dancing. She has also produced fashion shows and corporate image workshops.

“I have been able to use my talents to do the things I love and care about,” Miller says. “I love Hawai’i, her music and dance, her people and cultures. I love to entertain others, and to transport them to a place and time in Hawai’i through music and dance. I always hope that after people have sat through a performance, they have a sense of something beautiful about Hawai’i.”

Miller is the co-owner of Tropical Baby Productions L.L.C., a company that produces Hawaiian Hula shows and digital entertainment products. She is the co-publisher of HulaStudio magazine, Hawai’i’s first interactive digital tablet magazine about hula.

In 2014, Miller began teaching hula workshops in Japan. Since the COVID-19 outbreak in February 2020, Kanoe has been teaching hula on Zoom, reaching students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and Japan.

Miller believes that every person is born with a talent of some kind.

“Maybe you are good at numbers, or working with your hands, or you have a gift of gab,” she says. “Don’t be distracted by what other people are doing. Sit quietly, discover your talents and what you love to do, and then use your talents all-together.”