Jodie Chiemi Ching
On March 16, Lauren Akemi Sugai was crowned the 67th Cherry Blossom Festival queen at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, marking the climax of the 2019 festival, sponsored by the Honolulu Japanese Junior Chamber of Commerce. In an interview with The Hawai‘i Herald, Sugai shared her Cherry Blossom Festival experience.
When her name was announced as the new queen, Sugai said she was surprised and excited. Her parents, Stephen and Susan Sugai, “were so happy,” she said. Regardless of how she did in the competition, she knew they would be proud of her.
“Even before the coronation, they told me, ‘Win or lose, I’m proud of you. You already grew into a different person, so no matter what, we’re proud of you.’”