The following item is part of a series in which we corner people at the 2009 Hawaii State Society Inaugural Ball and ask them, “So, what’s your connection with the president?”

Brook Lee is a native Hawaiian with the distinction of winning the title of Miss Universe in 1997. She went to Obama’s school, Punahou School, but not while the future president was studying there.

And if that were the only (non)connection that the attractive Brook Lee had to Obama, we probably wouldn’t give her an exclusive item in this groundbreaking series. So there’s more: She once saw Obama. Now, she’s not sure exactly when it was, but she’s thinking 2004. Anyway, it was at the NAACP awards. Here’s how the famous Brook Lee sets the scene on this encounter, and get ready for the glare of glamour all over this serial blog post: OK, so Obama was walking out with Oprah! and Brook Lee was walking in, along with a few actresses.

As if that weren’t a significant-enough moment, pile this stuff on the plate: In the testimony of Brook Lee, Obama gave her a look when he glimpsed her. A come-hither look? A you-are-smokin’ look? No, not at all. It was all island: The look that the future prez gave Brook Lee at that NAACP event in that indeterminate year was a look, according to Brooke Lee, “that local Hawaiians give each other.”

In Brook Lee‘s retelling, Obama must have recognized her. Makes sense, considering that, hey, she was Miss Universe, after all. Plus, she says, Hawaii is small enough that everyone knows the celebs—like Don Ho and Tia Carrere. Yeah, especially Tia.

Reported by Amanda Hess, written by Erik Wemple

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