HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa announced that Piʻikea Kekīhenelehuawewehiikekauʻōnohi Lopes, a student of UH is the new face of the Nike N7 Collection.
Lopes is also the reigning 2022 Miss Aloha Hula after claiming the coveted title at the Merrie Monarch Festival in April.
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“It’s nice being noticed by a globally known brand wanting to feature Hawaiʻi and acknowledge hula as a sport,” said Lopes.
The Nike N7 Collection seeks to celebrate “Indigenous communities through footwear and apparel offerings and honors various Indigenous cultures and traditions,” according to Nike.
Lopes is the first kānaka ʻōiwi, or Native Hawaiian, to be featured with this collection.
Nike’s production crew came to O’ahu in September to do the photoshoot at Mākaha Beach, and representatives from the company expressed how inspiring Lopes’s passion and commitment for her native culture is.
“Whoever is representing any brand that’s featuring an Indigenous culture, I just want to make sure that they hold their loina [customs] paʻa [strong]…Just stick to your gut,” Lopes explained.
Lopes earned her Bachelor of Arts from UH in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi [Hawaiian language] and is currently working on her master’s degree in teaching. At this time, she is receiving field experience at Roosevelt High School where she teaches ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi to first and fourth-year student.
She is the daughter of Keawe Lopes, Jr., the Director of Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language; he is also her kumu hula [hula teacher]. Her mother is Tracie of hālau [hula school] Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe who took the Miss Aloha title in 1994.
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Lopes is fluent in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. She also won the Hawaiian Language Award at the 2022 Merrie Monarch festival for her mastery of ōlelo Hawaiʻi during the oli [chant] portion of her performance.