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Erin Brookhart has been singing and entertaining audiences since she was old enough to talk.
The 14-year-old has been performing on stage since she was about five years old.
“I have just always loved it,” exclaimed Brookhart.” I remember going to see Phantom of the Opera on stage, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is what I want to do. This is just amazing.’”
Most recently, Brookhart has realized another opportunity that happened quite unexpectantly. She will be competing as a state finalist in the National American Miss pageant in Portland in May. She will be competing in the Miss Oregon Junior Teen category, which is for ages 13, 14, and 15.
“It’s really focusing on inner beauty and just your personality,” she explained. “I am really excited. It’s going to be a blast. I am really anxious to gain poise and interview skills, and meet new friends.”
Unlike many pageants, Brookhart is not required to have a local title. She received a letter in the mail from the pageant administration, offering her the opportunity to attend an information session. She and her parents were skeptical at first, so they decided to call to make sure it was legitimate. Unbeknownst to her, an anonymous referral was made on her behalf, which is a requirement to qualify for the pageant.
“You have to have an invitation to attend the information session,” added Brookhart.
“We decided to go to that, and it was over at (the Inn) of the Seventh Mountain Resort. They had great information and a really good presentation, and so many nice people. There was a little bit of an interview there.”
Brookhart came out of the information session feeling really good about the upcoming pageant, and she and her family decided to get started on the sponsor fee, which is $480. This is the only cost, apart from her dress and travel costs for the pageant. She is not required to sell advertising, although she is encouraged to be visible in her community.
The required categories that contestants are judged on are 30 percent formal wear, 30 percent introduction, 30 percent interview, and 10 percent community involvement. There is not a swimsuit competition or talent portion to the pageant. If a contestant is a top finalist in any of the State Talent, Photogenic, Spokes model, Casual Wear Modeling, Actress, Volunteer Service, or Academic Achievement competitions, they may compete in any of the optional contests at the National Pageant. They also qualify to participate in the opening production number dance, and the special presentation in formal wear.
Brookhart is excited to compete for the state title, and the opportunities that accompany the National American Miss pageant. The pageant will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Portland, and she is excited about the opportunity to compete on a professional stage for the competition. The contestants will compete for a $1,000 cash prize, the privilege of making an appearance to meet the Oregon Governor and other dignitaries, and a chance to win other prizes.
“The community has been so supportive, and I just want to thank them so much, because I could not have done it without the community to raise the fees necessary to attend the pageant,” she said.
In addition to the pageant, Brookhart competed in the 2013 “Central Oregon Has Got Talent,” competition held in March. She placed second in the competition, held at the Tower Theater in Bend. The event raised more than $6,600 for special and adaptive recreation for people with disabilities in the community.