“Pink is my life,” 14-year-old Zoe Brown said in the enthusiastic yet matter-of-fact way of teenage girls as she stood in her room, the shockingly bright pink walls emphatically backing up her statement.
On one wall shelves hold her collection of awards — crowns she has won competing in beauty pageants since she was nine. Along with the crowns there are other prizes like scholarships and trips.
And as she tells friends who like to give her a hard time and laugh about the TLC show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” “I don’t do glitz.”
Brown competes in “natural” pageants. As she gets older some makeup like eye shadow or a touch of lip gloss is allowed, but at the younger age levels it is forbidden.
In February Brown was named Miss Washington Junior Teen, a category open to 13-15 year olds in the local level of the International Junior Miss competitions.
“I wasn’t thinking I was going to win,” Brown said.
The pageant was held in Renton and nine other girls competed in the division.
Each pageant consists of a variety of categories including formal and casual wear, talent, spokesmodel and interview to name a few.
For her talent at International Junior Miss she performed a contemporary jazz dance routine.
The interview portion consists of 90 seconds each with three to seven judges where the contestants have to introduce themselves and answer questions.
“I feel like for me that’s the most nerve wracking part,” Brown said. “Because it’s the part you get scored most on.”
Questions she’s been asked range from where she would like to travel to qualities she looks for in a best friend.
In the end she said, judges are looking more at how you say your answer — what your confidence level is — as opposed to the content of the answer.
Brown, who attends Tahoma Junior High, said she got interested in pageants when some of her friends at a dance studio she attended were talking about them.
“It sounded like a lot of fun and (a lot of) getting to meet people,” Brown said.
In her first pageant she finished in the top 15 overall and decided she wanted to compete again.
To prepare for a pageant she works with Stormy Keffler on her walk and Jeremy Monlux on her interview skills.
“He (Monlux) helps me because sometimes I psych myself out or over think things,” Brown said. “He always tells me every time to be myself.”
To date she has competed in nine pageants, with International Junior Miss being her favorite. She said the support all the girls had for each other made it stand out to her.
Talent is her favorite category, Brown said. “Dance is my life.”
“Anything on stage I like,” she added. “I like being on stage and performing for people.”
The other nerve wracking part of a pageant for Brown is the awards ceremony.
“They take forever to announce the winner and you get really nervous,” she said.
Brown said there were a lot of emotions when her name was called as the winner.
“I really wasn’t expecting it because there are girls who have done this (pageant) for years,” she said.
As the winner she earned a spot in the international competition that will be held at the beginning of July in Virginia Beach. Girls from each state, as well as from around the world will compete at that pageant.
Brown said she is most looking forward to all of the people she will get to meet and the experience.
“Not a lot of girls get to do this kind of stuff,” Brown said.
Zoe’s mom, Pamela Brown, described herself as, “not a typical pageant mom.”
She said she was glad her daughter took an interest in pageants because of the possibilities it opens up for Zoe, including winning scholarship money that she can put towards college.”
“She’s a total 14-year-old and goof,” Pamela said. “I just give her the tools and she goes and has fun.”
To raise money for the upcoming trip and collect pajamas for kids in need Zoe will be working with contestants in the one-day Miss Puget Sound Pajama Pageant on June 7 at Curtis High School. To learn more about the event go to www.facebook.com/events/467090216726453/ and to register go to www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/1IxXfkqjC4.