Kayla G. Sosin : Skating, Creating, And Doing Great

Friday November 1, 2019

By: Naiia Lajoie

Imagine an individual who watches the news daily. Based on the images being broadcasted and the stories being relayed, that individual is now inspired to do better in the world and be a better person for it. This person is looking forward to a career in political science; where they can be a public servant and in particular, bring education to those not privy to it. Said person now has a platform, and has elected to bring that platform to the forefront by participating in a beauty pageant. Sounds like an all-too-familiar tale, does it not?

What if it was revealed that the aforementioned individual likes skateboarding? Yes, you read that correctly – moreover, they are an avid creative writer. Not only that, they also take a keen interest in special effects makeup and happen to be a huge Star Wars fan. While this sounds like the makings of a fictitious being, it is actually the very real life of Kayla Gonzaga Sosin. As a freshman in college, she is breaking the mold at just eighteen years old.

Kayla is a Political Science major at the University of California, Riverside. Born to a Filipina mother and Caucasian father, she aspires to one day work in a foreign embassy. And just like any good Filipino-American dutiful daughter, she participated in her first large scale production pageant earlier this year at the behest of her mother. In July, Kayla was crowned Miss Continental Philippines Teen USA 1st Princess in the Miss World Philippines USA/CAN; the official Fil-Am rep to Miss World Philippines. While she clearly performed well, previously the teen was adamant about “not being the most pageant-type person”.

While Kayla has always been a big fan of the entertainment industry, she never felt as though pageantry was for her. In fact it was her mother – who at the same age was also a title holder – that pleaded with her to consider it. The prospect of taking on the challenge of something new was an appealing one, so with the support and experience of her mother to guide her, she relented. She looked at the ordeal as a learning opportunity, and when she at-first wavered, her mother was there to remind her to just have fun.

The appeal of pageantry could very well have stemmed from Kayla’s inherent philanthropic tendencies given the freshman is a member of UCR’s Katipunan Pilipino Student Organization, whose mission is to raise awareness of Fil-Am culture among the faculty and student body. She is also part of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, participating in their Read > Lead > Achieve initiative. With her sisters she reads to disadvantaged youth who in turn read to them, ultimately ameliorating their own reading abilities. She took this mantra with her on a recent trip to the Philippines where she provided meals to 500 school children in impoverished areas only to be met with requests for books by the school’s principal.

“As a college student in America I have ALL of the opportunities in the world” she explains, “but these young children don’t have as many”. Kayla has certainly taken advantage of the opportunities presented to her, always striving to acquire a new skill or hone an existing one. While still in high school, her creative writing garnered her screenwriting awards. In a statewide Public Service Announcement competition, one regarding “Go Safely California” won 2nd place, while another about “Mental Health Matters” took home 1st. She has also won cash prizes for her works, which she lightheartedly attributes to being her high school income.

For someone so young to be committed to curating her own future, it is only befitting that she would want to reach across the proverbial financial and cultural gaps to unite people around globe. The worldly teen chose political science as a clear path to international law. What other 18-year-old watches the news and wonders about the correlation between riots in Hong Kong and their effects on American 401(k)s? Kayla possesses a selfproclaimed heightened awareness of what is happening in the world and how we are all connected. “Everyone is NOT that different” she exclaims.

Her venture into international relations has also forced her to work on her public speaking. While she has never been one to lack in confidence, what her studies and pageantry have provided for her is an arena wherein she can be more comfortable articulating her mindset. Prior to this she was contented being “in the background” as she describes it, though now she is able to voice her opinions. Not just in English either – with an Asian mom, white dad, and Hispanic nanny, Kayla is actually fluent in Spanish (she is working on her Tagalog though; konti lang!).

When she is not conceivably trying to solve the world’s problems, the young adult truly does enjoy activities more typical of someone in their late teens. During the phone interview for this very article she was nursing a fractured foot – not due to skateboarding – but due to uneven ground while walking as she elected not to skate over it. “I’m a bit clumsy” admits the pageant queen. She also enjoys watching Star Wars (something acquired from her dad), playing video games, and doing SFX makeup. “I’m a creative person, so this is just another canvas for me. There are so many possibilities with makeup” Kayla says, before sharing that throughout this year’s Halloweek she was a werewolf as well as a zombie.

So what lies in store for the tomboyish teen turned beauty queen? Aside from bringing more books to the Philippines, Kayla does not want to be set on one thing; she is far too ambitious for that. “Everything I have time for and can do, I want to keep doing. I don’t want to take where I am for granted”. When asked about time management, she simply replied “there’s so much going on”, yet she feels confident, surrounds herself with likeminded successful friends, and thereby feels accomplished just by being in there presence. It pushes her; “Being around talented people has given me the confidence to try new things. Because college has so many new things, and opportunities!” Her excitement is infectious, as is her genuine disposition. And while she selfadmittedly has more femininity to find within herself, there is plenty that lies ahead in her already accolade-heavy journey. This title holder serves as a beacon to so many, and the world cannot wait to watch her shine brighter.



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