Starla Sampaco was born in Bellevue, Washington to Nieva and King Sampaco, who immigrated to the US from the Philippines. Starla graduated from Newport High School, where she was a three-year reporter and editor for the school newspaper. Through AP courses, Starla achieved a 4.18 GPA and received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. During her senior year, her peers voted her as "Most Likely to Become Famous."
She is currently a freshman at the University of Washington, where she is working towards a degree in Communications. At only eight years old, she was inspired to become a news anchor after watching journalist Rudi Bakhtiar on CNN Headline News. Starla aspires to become a broadcast journalist to spotlight issues that are relevant and worthy of public attention.
She is also the senior host of a Seattle show called "What's Good, 206?" which features inspirational people who make a positive impact on the community. Through "What's Good, 206?" Starla has interviewed several notable public figures including Seattle mayor Mike McGinn, actor Martin Sheen, and members of the Seattle Seahawks. As a host of a youth media show, Starla wants to empower other youth by proving that young members of society are not only competent, but also capable of having a profound impact on the lives of others.
Starla is proud to be a Filipino-American, and her upbringing as a first-generation American has influenced both her passion for education and appreciation of diversity. Although she has been branded a "beauty queen" because of pageantry, Starla often did not feel beautiful throughout her childhood because she did not fit the typical Barbie-doll ideal. As Miss Washington Teen USA, she wants to be the role model she never had growing up - one who promotes the message that being different is not the same as being defective. While Starla may not achieve world peace during her year-long reign, she will strive to inspire other young women to feel confidently beautiful whether they are blonde or brunette, tall or petite, or anything in between.
In Starla's spare time, she enjoys ballroom dancing, quoting Miss Congeniality, spending time with her sister/best friend Twyla, and eating Oreo McFlurries. Her motto is "Never settle for putting in an average effort. Ever."