Every morning at 4:30 a.m., Ashley Moser's alarm rang insistently, waking her so she could get to her 6 a.m. LDS seminary class across the island.
Add to that her class load at Punahou School, volunteering at a local adult day care, prepping for college and taking care of her duties as Miss Hawaii Teen USA, and it was a busy senior year.
But Moser's not complaining. It's what she's always wanted to do — combine performing onstage with sharing the gospel.
"It is a sacrifice (to get to seminary), but it's the best one I've ever made," said Moser. "Seminary helps me feel the spirit all through the day."
The spirit is also helping her realize her dreams. Moser is certain that the Lord is behind her successes.
"I always wanted to be a princess," said Moser, who was in her first pageant as a baby and grew up watching pageants. "I'm very thankful for pageants. My mom did pageants. That's how she got a scholarship to BYU-Hawaii. She was not a member at the time, so by going there, she found the gospel and my dad. As a result, our whole family is in the church."
She's grown up being one of the few Mormons in her school classes. Moser said she finds lots of opportunities to let others know she's LDS as she attends weekend functions with Miss Hawaii USA, whether it's an auto show or a ribbon cutting.
"It's a great gospel conversation tool," she said. "It's really awesome."
Onstage and in person, she's comfortable and likes meeting all kinds of new people, so the judge's interviews are fun for her. She doesn't stress over media attention or spotlights.
"I get energy from being on stage," she said. "I enjoy it."Comment on this story
She felt like she and her mother and father (Kendall and Sandra Sagisi Moser) won the crown together, after she placed second in several pageant competitions and had thought she'd always be a first runner-up.
"They pushed me, but in a good way," she said.
She also thanks her Heavenly Father.
"I know I wouldn't have won without (the Lord's help)," Moser said. "I told the Lord if I were fortunate enough to win, I would try to set an example for others. I'm so, so grateful."