Taking home the trophies
In the beginning, Annabelle Thomas wasn’t so sure about competing in the National American Miss pageant. The naturally shy 6-year-old didn’t seem like the type who would thrive up on a stage in front of a large crowd. Her parents, feeling it would be a good experience, encouraged her to attend. The result — Annabelle cleaned up, winning the talent competition and bringing home no fewer than six trophies to mark her accomplishments.
The trophies have a place of honor on a shelf in the living room among the family portraits. The largest — which Annabelle claims as her favorite — is pink, shiny and covered in stars, just the type of trophy that a 6-year-old girl would love. Annabelle received that one for winning the talent competition with a ballet routine. Her other trophies, which surround the larger one, range from winner of Miss Personality to Best Thank You note.
National American Miss is a national pageant, with age groups starting from 4 years old up to 20 years old. Contestants are judged in four categories — personal introduction, communications skills in an interview, community service and formal wear poise and appearance.
Annabelle competed at the state level in Denver in June, going up against 70 other young girls in her age group. She was the only participant from Summit County.
Annabelle’s parents, Adrianna and Andy Thomas, learned that Annabelle had been nominated for the pageant in early 2013.
“It’s good to try new things, to gain new experiences,” Andy said, adding that he wanted his daughter to take advantage of any opportunity that she could. He and Adrianna researched the pageant and decided that it would be a good chance for Annabelle to try something new and maybe gain some more confidence.
“This pageant — it’s more of building a young girl into becoming a well-groomed lady, where they develop certain skills,” Andy said.
To prepare for the talent portion of the competition, Annabelle practiced with local dance teacher Jennifer Voxakis. Annabelle has been learning tap and ballet from Voxakis for three years.
Annabelle also found support from Emma Hirsch at Hair Harmonies in Frisco, who came along as Annabelle’s personal hairdresser at the pageant. Various other family friends and local businesses helped sponsor Annabelle to get her to the pageant.
“We just wanted to say a general thank you for support and sponsorship,” Andy said. Both he and Adrianna added they were impressed with the generosity they encountered from the community.
Attending the pageant in June was quite an event for the Thomas party, as they navigated the chaos of backstage preparation and the nervous butterflies of onstage performance.
“I kept it simple,” Adrianna said of Annabelle’s shoes (flats) and her dress (easy to pull on and off).
Annabelle admitted that she felt a little bit nervous before her dance routine, but once it started, “it was fun.”
“She was very composed,” Andy said of Annabelle’s ballet routine. “She had a very good experience.”
At the end of the pageant, in addition to winning her trophies, Annabelle secured a place in the upcoming national competition, to be held in Anaheim, Calif., in November. She’s excited to participate and her parents are happy that she’s found a way to continue building confidence and character.
“You have to have some form of courage to do that,” Andy said. “She has really grown from that experience.”
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