Aspiring princess vies for crown

Pageant aims to teach confidence, sportsmanship

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A pageant that doesn’t allow makeup for girls under 12, one in which all girls are required to wear age-appropriate clothing, is what pageant mother Kelly Geiger calls “a breath of fresh air in this society where modesty is all but lost.”

Geiger, whose 5-year-old daughter Angelina is a state finalist for the June 28-29 National American Miss Competition in Denver, was impressed not just by the standards the competition has set for young girls, but by the values they instill.

“It’s a little different from all the other pageants out there,” said the Highlands Ranch mom. “You won’t find any toddlers and tiaras there.”

You won’t find a swimsuit competition either.

“This pageant really builds the girls’ character and self-esteem,” Geiger added. “When they go through the interview process, the judges even ask the girls if they are there because they are interested or because their parents made them do it. I’m really just hoping it helps bring her out of her shell a bit more.”

Angelina, who participates in dance, swimming, gymnastics and soccer, is a lot like many 5-year-old girls. She enjoys drawing and coloring and likes to build with Legos. Asked why she wanted to do the pageant, she said, “Because I like being a princess.”

Angelina has five princess dresses already, but is looking forward to going shopping with her mom for a new pink dress, mainly so she can play in the mall’s play area.

If Angelina wins the state competition, she will take home $1,000 — which her mother says will go straight into her college fund — and head to California for the national competition, where she will also get to take a complimentary tour of Hollywood and enjoy the VIP treatment at Disneyland.

The latter would no doubt be a lot of fun for a girl whose favorite TV show is “The Mickey Mouse Club” and who aspires to be an actress on the show when she grows up.

The competition isn’t all about winning, though, and that’s one of the reasons Angelina’s mother is allowing her to do it. According to the pageant’s website, the program is based on inner beauty as well as poise and presentation, and an emphasis is placed on the importance of developing self-confidence and learning good sportsmanship, as well as setting and achieving personal goals.

The scoring is based on formal wear, introducing one’s self on stage with confidence, an interview that asks a lot of basic fun questions, and community involvement, for which the girls are asked to donate a toy or book.

And for Angelina, whose favorite book is “Cinderella,” it’s a chance to be a princess for a day.

To learn more about the competition, which is open yearly to girls ages 4-18, visit www.namiss.com.