The contest kicked off the 33rd Merrie Monarch Festival's hula competition in Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium.
It was the second try for Ho, who placed third in the 1991 Miss Aloha Hula pageant and tried again this year because, "Ka manawa pono - the time was right," she said.
The 23-year-old daughter of kumu hula Leimomi Ho, of Keali`ika`apunihonua Ke`ena A`o Hula in Palolo, scored 493 points for hula kahiko (ancient hula) and a pageant-high 532 points for hula `auana (modern hula) for an aggregate score of 1,025 points.
Oahu contestants swept the pageant. Noelani Kalama of Puka`ikapuaokalani Hula Halau in Kailua scored 492 for kahiko and 522 for an elegant `auana depicting Princess Ka`iulani, for a total of 1,014 points to place second. Lauren Leialoha Kanae of Halau Hula Olana in Aiea scored 494 and 517, respectively, for a total of 1,011 points and third place.
U`ilani Bobbitt of Halau Mohala `Ilima in Kailua scored 493 and 514 for a total of 1,007 to place fourth. Jaylin Kaleiokalani Kahalepua A`o Kalola Winchester, of Ka Pa Hula `O Kauanoe `O Wa`ahila in Honolulu, scored 501 and 504 for a total of 1,005 to place fifth.
Ho also won the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs award for Hawaiian language achievement during her performance.
In her crowd-thrilling `auana, Ho danced to the twin love songs "Ka Lehua I Mili`a" and "He Aloha Ku`uipo."
The green-eyed Ho wore a red velvet gown screen-printed with yellow lehua and head and neck lei of yellow lehua blossoms and palapalai fern.
"It was for my Nana, Victoria Keali`ika`apunihonua I`i Rodrigues, who shared with me throughout her life," she said of the `auana dedicated to her mother's late kumu hula.
Ho is a Kamehameha Schools graduate and University of Hawaii senior who plans to become a Hawaiian language immersion teacher.
The Merrie Monarch hula competition continues tonight with group competition in hula kahiko. It concludes tomorrow.