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Hail to the queens

From their pre-pageant routines to day-of mishaps to advice for aspiring contestants, local pageant winners tell all.

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Rachel Swetnam

Competing as Miss Midtown Tulsa Teen USA, Swetnam won the National American Miss Teen Oklahoma title in June 2010. She began competing in county fair pageants in elementary school and state pageants as a teen.

Why do you enjoy being involved in pageants?

I enjoy competing in pageants because it is a fun way to meet new people and it is a wonderful learning opportunity. It has taught me to be more relaxed when talking to new people and large audiences. Through pageants, I have made many memories and strong friendships that will last a lifetime.

What is your pre-pageant routine?

My pre-pageant routine involves a lot of physical and mental exercising. I try to work out every day, practice interview questions with my friends and family, and stay up to date on current events by watching the news and reading through magazines and newspapers.

What’s the history behind the National American Miss Teen Oklahoma pageant?

The National American Miss system has been around for years. It was founded by Steve and Kathleen Mayes of Texas. They had a mission to not only change people’s perception on pageantry but also change a person’s perception of herself by promoting healthy lifestyles and self-confidence.

What ran through your head when you were crowned?

I was really shocked! I didn’t even realize that they had called my name at first. I was thrilled and excited to be rewarded with the opportunity to represent our wonderful state.

What is your platform and do you hope to promote it as Miss Teen Oklahoma?

As a victim of a car accident in 2008, I feel very passionate about seatbelt safety. I hope to use this title to promote seatbelt safety, as it can save lives and reduce injuries.

What is your most memorable pageant mishap?

When I was getting ready for the evening gown competition, my mom was zipping up my dress and the zipper started to rip. It was horrible! Every time I was backstage I couldn’t even sit and relax (because) I was so nervous it would rip apart.

What is your favorite pageant memory?

My favorite pageant memory was the year my sister, Sarah, and I both competed in the same pageant. It was great getting to experience this with her since it was the only pageant she ever competed in.

What are your goals?

One of my short-term goals is to go to Nationals in November in Los Angeles and represent Oklahoma to the best of my ability. My long-term goals are to get my college degree and own my own boutique soon after.

What advice would you share with aspiring beauty queens?

Work hard when preparing for a pageant and always stay true to yourself. Remember to always be proud of your own accomplishments and that no matter what, you are a role model to younger girls.

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