I turn on the T.V. and see her co-hosting "Higher, Faster, Stronger." I walk into T&C Surf and see her picture on the wall. I look on the cover of an Orthodontics Magazine, and she's surfing a wave with her father. She's in a Maui Jim ad, in the Crazy Shirts Catalog, and even in a Taco Bell Commercial. She seems to be everywhere I look. Who is this Jill of all trades? Why it's your friendly neighborhood Orthodontist - Dr. Malia
Kamisugi. Hawaii411 caught up with Malia after she returned from a family trip to Japan. This busy Dentist took the time to let us take a look at her
active lifestyle and see what it's like to have brains, brawn, and beauty.
Hawaii411: When I first heard of Malia Kamisugi, you were a completive kayaker in High school. What kind of honors did you garner then?
Malia: I was on the national team for 5 years in both the junior and senior divisions. In those five years I've gotten about 20 gold medals plus a bunch of silvers and bronzes. In 1988 I got the sportsmanship award. In 1989 I got the most valuable junior paddler award.
Hawaii411: Was the Olympics a consideration?
Malia: Yeah, I was training for the `92 Olympics. I went to the Pan American games in `91 and stopped paddling shortly for a number or reasons - mostly it was because I was hurting my shoulder, and it was time to go back to school.
Hawaii411: How many years did you take off from college to train?
Malia: I didn't take any time off, although I did do school very slowly. For two years after high school, I only took a year's worth of classes.
|| Sept 26, 1972
|| Honolulu HI
T & C Extreme Riders
Higher Faster Stronger
Hawaii411: Seeing as many Olympic kayakers stay competitive into their 40s, do you ever think of taking another shot at the Olympics?
That was my original thought, that I should go back to school then because I was ten years younger than most of my other
competitors. If I wanted to paddle again I could do it later, but at this point in time I don't really miss it. I still paddle canoes competitively and still kayak sometimes, but I'm thinking of doing the local (kayak)
races - not at the Olympic level again.
Hawaii411: You were featured on the cover of a recent Hawaii Dental Association Journal surfing a monster wave - how big was the wave?
Malia: It was probably only 12 or 15 feet Hawaiian.
Hawaii411: Are you nuts?
No.. an adrenaline junkie maybe.
Hawaii411: Was the biggest wave you have surfed or would like to surf?
I'm comfortable now with 15 feet (tow-in surfing). I've tried to surf 20 feet, but
I got pretty worked. The biggest I've paddled into is 12 feet.
Hawaii411: Do you ever get scared to the point where you start to wonder,
'What am I doing?'
Malia: Yeah, but the thing is, if you don't have the confidence you're gonna go down. Everyone kind of says,
'If you don't know, you don't go.'
Hawaii411: Where's your favorite surf spot?
Malia: I like 'Avalanche' (outside Haleiwa) the best - you can only tow-in. I like Ala Moana Bowls, but it's always too crowded. Rice Bowls would be good if I could surf it better.
Malia: I have no desire to surf Mavericks - too cold.
Hawaii411: You come from a family who loves the water, tell us about them.
Malia: My mom is an avid sailboat racer. She actually met my dad out surfing years and years ago. My dad also sails and is a big fisherman, and also surfs quite a bit - Bowls is his spot. My younger brother is my tow-in partner - he's a great surfer, especially in the big waves. My older brother is now starting to learn how to tow-in with us. He's also
an avid surfer. We all dive and fish. Both my brother are very good divers, they can hit about 100 feet (deep).
Hawaii411: How much time do you spend in the water weekly?
About 15 hours a week.
Hawaii411: Are you growing gills now?
Hawaii411: Have you ever thought of having a career as a professional surfer, lifeguard or something like that?
Malia: When I was about 15, I thought it would be cool to be a professional windsurfer, but that thought left me quickly. It's not a professional sport, but that's about all I did for about 5 years. I compete in paddling, but the other sports I do for fun. I never wanted to cross the line to make fun relaxing recreational sports into work.
Hawaii411: You're a model and also an avid surfer. There's another surfer/model out there also named Malia (Jones). Do you get mistaken for her?
Once in awhile, which is very flattering.
Hawaii411: Her father is also a dentist. It there some kind of weird connection here?
Malia: It's a funny coincidence.
Hawaii411: If I have a daughter, should I name her Malia in the hopes that she would be a surfer too?
Malia: It's a good name.
Hawaii411: How did you get into modeling?
I did a little in high school. I started modeling again when my student loans were due and I realized that you don't make as much money as they told you you'd make at UOP (University of the Pacific School of Dentistry).
Hawaii411: So you host a TV show with "Higher Faster Stronger?"
It kind of fell into my lap. I never thought that I would do something like that, but it was fun. They approached me to do it, and I tried it out.
Hawaii411: Was it hard to make the transition from just smiling for the camera to actually speaking to the camera?
Malia: At first it was a little bit tricky, but every single time we shot, I got more comfortable.
Hawaii411: Do you think TV is something you might want to pursue more of?
If the opportunity arises - It was fun. "Higher Faster Stronger" was for a good cause. The kids loved it - it built their experiences. I'd definitely consider it.
Hawaii411: Are people starting to notice you in public as a "celebrity?"
I'm amazed by how many people recognize me from the show.
Hawaii411: Are you flattered, embarrassed...
A little bit of both.
Hawaii411: You're an accomplished athlete and an orthodontist; does it feel weird to be known for your looks instead of your brain and brawn?
Who said I'm noticed for my looks instead of my brain and brawn?
Hawaii411: In ADDITION to your brain and brawn?
I'm all brain (smiling).
Hawaii411: I noticed that there is a ring on your left finger, does that mean there are wedding bells on the way for Malia?
No, this is a 21st birthday present that only fits on this finger.
Hawaii411: But for the men out there, is Dr. Kamisugi single?
Malia: I have a boyfriend.
Hawaii411: Too bad guys.
Hawaii411: As an orthodontist, don't you get tired of looking into peoples' mouths every day?
No, you get to see the changes in people. Their whole attitude changes when they start to se their teeth get straighter. It's rewarding, and that's why we all get into this profession - to help people smile. If you can't be a comedian, you have to do it in a different way.
Hawaii411: Did you always want to be an orthodontist?
Before that, I wanted to be an architect, an astronaut, a marine biologist, and a P.E. teacher at
Hawaii411: What's the hardest part about being an orthodontist?
Going from school to private practice and realizing that you have to manage a staff and run a business, and do marketing. That was the most difficult part.
Hawaii411: Can you fix my teeth?
Sure, I don't know though, we may need to do a little facial reconstruction on you (trying to keep a straight face).
Hawaii411: How about a deal on a surfboard?
I'm looking for a board of my own right now. Boards are expensive.
Hawaii411: What size boards do you surf?
For tow-in, I use a 7'-0". For Big waves I have an 8'-2" and I have a 6'-8" and a 6'-3" for smaller waves for fun. I'm looking for a longboard right now.
Hawaii411: Is that a sign of you getting older?
Hawaii411: You grew up surfing with your Dad, but did you ever think you'd be working alongside him?
Malia: Maybe in the back of my mind somewhere, but I never really thought that. In fact he didn't even know I was applying for dental school until I needed money for the application.
Hawaii411: **big laugh**
Hawaii411: Is it hard to balance everything in your life?
I definitely don't have a lot of free time in my life. That can get kind of stressful at times. At the same time, the more you do, the more you get done. I like being busy rather than
Hawaii411: Orthodontist, Water woman, Model, TV Host - what hat do you like wearing best?
To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't be happy doing just one. That's why I do them all. There are certain things that are fun, and certain things that are annoying about each of those things. Having the balance and variety makes it fun.
Hawaii411: What's next on the horizon? Maybe "Jumping the pool" at Punahou (a stunt where you leap from the top of a building into the pool at Punahou school (or so we've heard))?
I always wanted to try base-jumping, but I don't know if I'll ever do that.
Hawaii411: What's that?
It's where you jump off a cliff holding a parachute.
Hawaii411: You are nuts.... is there anything you can't do?
There's a lot of things I can't do... I can't stand to watch TV.
Hawaii411: What about your show?
Hawaii411: Thank You Malia, for a great interview.
Hawaii411 Conclusion: What amazes me most is that Malia doesn't just participate in a variety of activities;
She excels at them all.
And, not only does she have a beautiful smile, she can your actually make your smile beautiful as well. The ocean's the limit for Dr. Malia and Hawaii411 hopes to see more of her smiling face in the media and on TV. Now about my