She is no Miss Congeniality or a toddler in a tiara, but junior Isabella Raine is taking the pageant world by storm.
Junior Isabella Raine competes at local and national pageants. When she first started, Raine was placing first in various optional competitions. She’s risen in the ranks and was recently was crowned Queen and won the title of Miss Maryland USA Ambassador Junior Teen 2013.
The pageants Raine usually competes in consist of three required competitions worth 30 percent of the overall score : formal wear, a personal introduction and an interview with each of the six judges. There are also optional competitions such as modeling, speech and acting.
Raine’s first competition was the National American Miss pageant, when she was 10 years old. She went into the competition with no idea what to expect. Almost all of her competitors were experienced.
“My suit did not match at all,” Raine said. “It was a little skirt and blazer and I had this long orange dress that was three sizes too big. I really didn’t know what I was doing.”
In the summer of 2012, after a two year hiatus, Raine was back and ready to win. She started working with a coach, the 2012 Miss Baltimore, Victory Muhamed.
“Isabella was full of personality and was willing to listen and learn when I first met her,” Muhamed said. “I have watched her blossom into a real pageant contender and competitor. Girls know to expect serious competition from her in all phases of competition. She swept the awards these past two years and I cannot wait to see her win some major titles.”
The Miss Maryland pageant is a three day competition where Raine participated in back to back competitions. Out of 85 competitors, she placed in almost every optional she competed, winning 11 trophies and over 800 dollars in prize money.
“We had to juggle all of the trophies to the car,” Raine said. “It was such a good comeback and my coach was so proud of me. All of the sudden I realized that I was pretty good at pageants.”
In Mar., she competed at the Miss Maryland USA Ambassador competition where she won and qualified for nationals in Tampa, FL. It was her first national pageant, but Raine placed in the top 10.
As a pageant winner, Raine has to represent the pageant organization and serve as a role model. She plans to volunteer at the Georgetown University Hospital in the children’s cancer unit. In Nov., she will also be making an appearance at a parade in Reston, VA.
Raine practices nine months in advance in order to be a top contender. She comes up with her own commercial ideas and to writes speeches for competition.
Pageantry is completely different from what is depicted on television. Raine says in the pageants she does, girls under the age of 13 can’t wear makeup and judges don’t look for expensive outfits.
Raine also dismisses the stereotype that pageant girls are ditzy. As competitors get older, they have to know about foreign affairs and current events.
“How is someone going to represent the state or meet the governor when they don’t even know his name?” Raine said, “The hairspray hasn’t gotten to our heads.”
Raine says that the reason she loves pageantry is because a competition helps her set goals. The questions the judges ask about her ambitions make her consider why she wants to be a civil engineer.
“Pageantry strives to teach girls self-confidence and getting on stage in front of a bunch of people and expressing yourself,” Raine said. “You take home these skills with you and it helps get you ready for a job interview and learn how to present yourself and hold your head a little higher.”