She may not have taken home the title oF Miss World Guam 2013, but in our book, Lisa Pachkoski is still a winner. Crowned first runner-up and winning Best in Evening Gown, Lisa walked away that night with the same confidence, poise, and elegance that are the hallmarks of a seasoned, trained dancer.
Photography by Xander Angeles | Words by Arleah C. Baingan
Styling by Stephen Apetrior | Makeup by Janina Dizon
Hair by Geormina Imperial
Shot at Armada Hotel, Malate, Manila, Philippines
T’S EARLY MORNING in Manila, Philippines, and after a week of grey skies and rain, the sun is finally out. But it isn’t the only thing that’s shining. Lisa Pachkoski is in town for our latest Uno cover shoot. It’s going to be a good day.
In front of us is the almost nondescript building that is the Armada Hotel, the site for our pictorial. It is located in the heart of Manila, in a small district called Malate that may be more popular with tourists than locals since it is home to several bars and watering holes catering specially to foreigners. The hotel surprises us once we get inside. It is actually large, contrary to how it looks from the outside. To our left is a spacious, all-day dining restaurant called the Caliber Café that serves international cuisine and Filipino specialties while to the right is the reception area manned by a welcoming, smiling staff.
We are instructed to go up to the 15th floor, where a room is reserved for the Uno team. The room proves to be another great surprise. It is quite roomy, complete with picturesque views overlooking Manila Bay and the perfect spot to witness the city’s world-famous sunset. Here is where we anxiously wait for our beauty queen to arrive.
In walks the star of the show. Our first impression is how youthful she looks, and then we couldn’t help but notice her slender build emphasized by a body-hugging, figure-flattering black dress that fits her like a glove.
After the initial courtesies, we make ourselves comfortable on the plush sofa and sit with the lovely Lisa, hoping to get inside her head a bit and learn more about our sweet subject.
Refuge in Rhythm
Standing at 5’5”, Lisa thanks her parents for her good genes. “I’ve got my mom’s body and more of my dad’s facial features.” Her Polish, Lithuanian, and Pohnpeian mix is quite unique, but we’re not complaining. It’s not long before we discover that she’s got a good head on her shoulders, too. She will be attending the University of Guam to study biology.
However, Lisa’s true passion is dance. She has been a member of Fusion Dance Center since she was eight years old. The genre of music she enjoys dancing to most is hip-hop, though she has had training in other techniques as well, including ballet. Lisa uses dance as an outlet to de-stress, but more importantly, to express herself. “When I’m dancing, I feel confident and attractive,” she reveals. Her favorite dancer is Melanie Moore. “Her technique is amazing. She’s extremely graceful and expressive. Melanie always has this expression on her face when she dances; you can tell that she really loves what she does. Melanie can dance to pretty much any genre — hip-hop, contemporary, ballet — she is just that good,” Lisa gushes.
Although dance is what she lives for, the most important thing to Lisa right now is her education. With the goal of becoming a marine biologist someday, Lisa has graduating from college at the top of her list. That doesn’t mean she’s pushing everything else aside, though. Ms. Pachkoski has other huge ambitions as well. She’s considered trying out for the hit TV show, So You Think You Can Dance. However, Lisa isn’t ready just yet. She admits she needs to perfect her craft before she even attempts to audition for something that big.
Making It Happen
Dancing has kept Lisa fit, and always ready for a new challenge. “Being a part of Fusion Dance Center, we always perform dance numbers at pageants. I’d be watching from backstage, and seeing those [previous contestants] compete inspired me to try as well,” she says, beaming. So she made the brave decision to join one. After deciding to be a part of the Miss World Guam pageant, Lisa went on a strict diet. “I ate small portions, five times a day, and drank a lot of water. I did this for probably a month before the pageant. I also got a good workout from dancing and running every Monday.”
But looks can be deceiving. Although she had to stay disciplined for the pageant, Lisa LOVES to eat. Some of her guilty pleasures include McDonald’s French fries, and even local delicacies like deer kelaguen. “I love trying new things. Give me anything and I’ll eat it. I usually won’t even ask what it is, I’ll just eat it.” And it’s this adventurous spirit that makes her even more desirable.
Besides trimming and toning, she also had to prepare for the slow and terrifying walk during the Evening Gown segment. Watching the pageant, we were impressed by her confidence...and balance...as she gracefully glided across the stage in her seven-inch heels. Lisa was so committed, she said she wore them every chance she got, even when she was just washing the dishes at home. Now that’s dedication. Michael Jordan identified three types of people: those who want it to happen; those who wish it would happen; and those who make it happen. Well, there’s no doubt which group Lisa belongs to.
After running in this pageant, Lisa has a strong desire to compete again. “I’m prepared to go on a stricter diet and run every day, aside from my regular dancing schedule,” she says.
Lisa realizes that at her age, she already needs to set the path for her future. It’s clear to us that this 18-year-old is focused and ambitious. But like many in our culture, one of the most important things to her is family. As she continues to grow and discover all of the amazing things that life has to offer, spending time with family and friends remains a priority.
“I would say my parents raised me well. I come from a small, close-knit family.” By small, Lisa means mom, dad, younger brother, and herself. She has relatives in Maryland, who she sees about every two years. Lisa’s mother is Pohnpeian and has lived in Palau, but her parents met in Guam and now call it home. Not wanting to ever distance herself from loved ones as she aims to reach her goals, she makes every effort to spend time with them as much as possible.
“We would always have open conversa-tions,” Lisa shares about her family. “We’d just sit at the kitchen table and talk about our day, and what our plans were for the next. Sundays are our family day, when everyone’s home, so we’d just stay home and relax. We would watch movies, eat, and just enjoy each other’s company.”
Joining the Miss World Guam pageant has changed Lisa, but only for the better. “Before competing in the pageant, I was very, very shy. I was not comfortable in front of big crowds, especially while strutting around in a swimsuit. And the only modeling experience I had was during the pageant.” Lisa is proud that she is a good listener who also loves to talk, but admits, “One thing I can work on is being more open about my feelings. What gave me the most confidence though were the relationships I established with the other contestants leading up to the competition.”
Aside from her supportive family, friends, and growing social life, Lisa finds time for the man in her life. Sorry fellas, but this beauty is spoken for. Lisa has been in a committed relationship for almost a year now. “We met when we were around 12 years old. We were both members of Youth for Youth. It was obvious we had a thing for each other, but it took him six years to build up the courage to ask me out! He treats me like a princess, and he’s someone who I know will take care of me.”
So what’s Lisa like as a girlfriend, you wonder? “I’m not the jealous type, if that’s what you mean.” She’s not too crazy about being all touchy feely in public either. “We both agree it’s a little disrespectful to show too much affection in public, but I am a very affectionate person.”
Even before Lisa changes into her wardrobe for the shoot, it’s obvious her body is on point. But we want to know what she considers to be the sexiest thing about herself. “I think it’s my eyes,” she replies. And with that, our casual conversation comes to a close. As she gets up from the sofa, she gives us another warm, winsome smile, and we are afforded another gaze into those deep brown eyes of hers. With the stylist by her side, she makes her way to the dressing room. After a few minutes, she reemerges wearing a black tank top and matching bottom, and at that moment we confirm what we’ve known all along: this girl’s got killer curves.