Nicole leaves the group to explore by herself. She finds herself by the old totems in the ruined civilization. She starts looking for materials to make a drum. Why not?
She thinks about her mom while she creates. A former Lakers Girl, her mom had her try several activities with the goal of her becoming a star. She also submitted her to beauty treatments like hair relaxing and whitening cream. Not cool.
Nicole wants to be a doctor like her Aunt Abeo. She entered pageanting to get a college scholarship.
She runs into Shanti, who has been spying on her. Away from the other girls, Nicole gets Shanti to admit she doesn't like her because the pageant judges will probably only let one non-white girl into the top five.
Then Shanti gets stuck in quicksand. Literally.
As she sinks, her voice changes to like, a total Valley Girl. Nicole gets her to admit that she's made up much of her immigrant story to get a leg up with the judges. Only then does Nicole get a vine to pull Shanti out.
Shanti tugs too hard and pulls Nicole in instead. As they sink, they lament the movie stereotype that "The brown people die first." (16.94)