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Under the Sun With: Former Miss Hawaii Allie Chu

Under the Sun With: Former Miss Hawaii Allie Chu

In our Under the Sun series, we catch up with Vertra ambassadors to learn where they feel most at home outside. For pageant winner and entrepreneur Allie Chu, it’s the Mōkūlua Islands off the coast of Oʻahu.

Allie Chu, an Oʻahu native and former Miss Hawaii, has always felt a deep respect and connection to nature.  

“I was always a water baby,” she says. “Whether I was surfing, diving, or collecting seashells, I’ve just always been around the ocean.”

Allie, 29, has spent most of her life exploring the blue waters and lush hillsides of Honolulu, but it wasn’t until eight years ago that she first experienced what she calls one of the most beautiful places in the world: the Mōkūlua Islands.  

Located off the eastern coast of Oʻahu, Mōkūlua (officially called Nā Mōkūlua , which means “the two islands” in Hawaiian) they’re off-the-radar for most visitors—and even many locals. The pair of small islands are part of the Hawaii State Seabird Sanctuary, home to shearwater seabirds, monk seals, turtles, tiger sharks, and other wildlife. 

For Allie, ‘the mokes’ has become her go-to spot to soak in the beauty of Hawaiʻi and take on its signature outdoor activities: surfing, canoeing, and snorkeling. 

Over the years Allie has been able to express her love for her home state by representing it on the national stage as Miss Hawaiʻi in 2016 and Miss Hawaiʻi USA in 2021. Outside of pageants she’s passionate about acting, modeling, and recording music, in addition to recently launching her own catering company, Oysters Hawaiʻi. 

Vertra recently caught up with Allie to hear more about her outdoor adventures in Hawaiʻi and what’s next for her career—including the lowdown on her recent TV debut on Netflix’s Squid Game: The Challenge

Vertra: You grew up on Oahu, but you didn’t visit the Mōkūlua Islands until you were an adult. How did you end up discovering them?

Allie: My boyfriend, Hopena, introduced me to the Mōkūlua islands. Before we started dating, I was a townie and mainly did townie things, surfing and hiking around Honolulu. When we started dating, I explored the east side more, and he took me out to the islands. The experience was really special. At the height of the pandemic, I went to ‘the mokes’ almost every day. It's kind of a mission to get there—you have to take a sailing canoe or kayak—so there aren’t many people around.

Vertra: There are so many beautiful spots in Hawaii. What makes the Mōkūlua islands so special?

Allie: To me, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. You’re surrounded by clear water, great surf, turtles, endangered monk seals—and no crowds. The water is clear and there's just so much nature. My friends and I usually take a sailing canoe around the islands. We also surf when the swell breaks and sometimes we snorkel.

Vertra: Of all the times you’ve sailed to Nā Mōkūlua, what’s been your most memorable trip?

Allie: The first time I went there stands out the most. I was with Hopena, my sisters, and friends. We all got together and went sailing. It was my first time on a sailing canoe. I saw endangered monk seals and turtles and I went surfing. It’s a special memory that has now become a typical day for us. 

Vertra: You’re the first person to win both Miss Hawaii and Miss Hawaii USA. How did you get into the pageant world and how has it impacted your life? 

Allie: Growing up, I watched my sister compete in Miss Hawaiʻi multiple times, so pageants were always part of my life. I loved watching them but didn’t think I’d participate. But when I really needed money for school, I decided to participate because the Miss Hawaiʻi organization has an amazing college scholarship program, and the talent portion of pageants allowed me to showcase my love of music. I’ve been singing opera since I was five. I was able to graduate college debt-free. 

I loved how the opportunities allowed me to represent and get involved with my community. I’ve stayed involved with the Miss Hawaiʻi organization as a judge and a mentor. I support pageantry because it’s an awesome outlet for women to better their lives and further their education. 

Vertra: You’ve also ventured into entrepreneurship in 2022, launching Oysters Hawaii, a mobile oyster catering company. What led you to start your own business?  

Allie: When I was living in New York before the pandemic, I learned how to shuck oysters and learned that pairing oysters with champagne is common on the East Coast. This isn’t something you see in Hawaii even though people love seafood, so my boyfriend, sister, and I found an opportunity to provide this experience at events in our home state. 

We launched in 2022 and offer all-you-can-eat oyster shucking for events like weddings, golf tournaments, and football games. We bring oysters with all the fixings, like homemade ponzu, Hawaiian hot chili, and champagne mignonette. Our slogan is “Let’s have a great shucking time.”

Vertra: You’ve been a Vertra ambassador for a few years now. What do you enjoy most about our products?

Allie: As someone who grew up in Hawaiʻi, giving back to the community and caring for our land has always been a priority. In Hawaiʻi, we have a saying, mālama ʻāina. It means, if you take care of the land, it will take care of you. I love using Vertra sunscreen because it prioritizes taking care of our reefs by not using oxybenzone, a chemical that can be very harmful to marine life. 

I also have really sensitive skin, so I love using sunscreen that compliments my skin tone and doesn’t make me break out. The Ehukai Beige Face Stick is one of my favorites because it blends really nicely while protecting my face. If I know I’m actively going to be in the sun for a long time, whether I’m surfing or just hanging at the beach, I also apply a base layer of SPF protection with the Beach Break Daily Facial Moisturizer. I love how light it feels on my face and the fact that it provides really strong coverage throughout the day, which is important when you’re in the strong Hawaiian sun. 

* Vertra recommends reapplying sunscreen products every two hours for best results.

Vertra: Finally, we have to ask about your most recent adventure—participating in Netflix’s reality competition series Squid Game: The Challenge. How were you cast on the show and what was that experience like?

Allie: I was a huge fan of the show, and my mom encouraged me to apply. Out of over 100,000 applicants, they only picked 456 people in the entire world, so it was an honor to be chosen. It was probably one of the most physically and mentally challenging things I've ever had to do in my life. 

We filmed in London and we were completely closed off from the outside world. I made it through the first game—red light, green light—which was physically demanding and lasted much longer in real life than what was shown in the first episode. I was eliminated during the second game, a cookie challenge, where my group was chosen to carve an umbrella cookie—the hardest shape you could get.


Fast facts: Allie Chu

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii and New York City

Occupation: entrepreneur, model, actress, singer, mentor

Other hobbies: Surfing, canoeing, hiking, running

Go-to Vertra products: Beach Break Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 and Ehukai Beige Face Stick SPF 38