The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Sashaying to success: Kate Edwards’ story

Photo courtesy of Kate Edwards
WCHS junior Kate Edwards poses as she walks down the runway at the Miss Teen Maryland USA Pageant.

Many little girls dream at least once of standing on a stage, wearing a gorgeous dress, doing a model walk down a runway, posing before a table of judges and then walking back in four-inch heels without tripping once. For WCHS junior Kate Edwards, this is reality.

Thinking about pageantry may conjure up images of vapid models,silly sashes and standoffish girls who, at a moment’s notice, are ready to stick a dagger in each other’s back. The truth is that pageantry, and the teenage girls behind it, could not be any more different than this negative stereotype.

“I’ve wanted to be a model since I was little, and I saw an advertisement on Instagram about how pageants give you a platform,” Edwards said. “It also gives you modeling contracts and you get to do all these events and fashion shows, so I signed up.”

Edward began her pageantry career at the age of 14. In the beginning, this meant having a phone call interview and a photoshoot. Soon, she would have to face the vaunted pageant weekend,where 100 girls stay together at a hotel for three days and compete in the pageant while networking with each other.

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“I used to have a horrible fear of public speaking and performing in general. In pageants, 60 percent of your score is walking around the stage in different outfits and the other 40 percent is doing an interview with the judge,” Edwards said. “The first year I was so terrified, I don’t think I smiled once.”

The first barrier Edwards had to overcome was her own stereotypes and beliefs about how pageant girls acted and behaved. Growing up on shows such as “Miss Congeniality” and “Insatiable”, she worried about the perceived image of pageants as mean blonde girls, catty contestants and body shaming.

“I thought everyone was going to be mean and stab each other in the back, so I was definitely standoffish,” Edwards said. “But when I got there, I realized that everyone there is trying to do their best and no one is trying to tear you down. So, you set another goal for yourself: meet new people and build connections.”

Pageant contestants all compete with each other for the crown by building it on their platform, which is the place where they advocate for their cause and bring a certain issue of their choice to light.

“On my platform, I want to advocate for family corp reform, because I know a lot about little kids who are going through the same things I did when I was little [without] anyone to look up to,” Edwards said. “I want to be that person for them.”

Edwards’ goal for the future is two-fold: win Miss Teen Maryland USA to promote her platform for the pageant upcoming in April, then build up her portfolio so she can get signed up with a modeling agency. Her end goal is not just doing pageants — the next step of her journey is to begin her modeling career.

“I’m building my portfolio right now because the likelihood of getting signed as a 16-year-old is very low,” Edwards said. “I’m working to get as many collabs as possible right now so when I’m 18, I can get signed onto a major agency. I recently did a collaboration with a photographer to do this. A great part of pageantry is networking; everyone is trying to support each other.”

Edwards had a support system that supported her along the way. Her mother, grandmother, brother and best friend all encouraged her on her journey.

“My mom is the one who got me here in the first place,” Edwards said. “She was the one who first heard me say I wanted to do this, and said that she would help make it happen.”

With a support system behind her and a future in modeling ahead, Edwards has started to get on the way of accomplishing her goals. She has begun the start of her pageant and modeling career, and it is safe to say that she will not be done anytime soon.

“Pageantry helped grow my confidence,” Edwards said. “In the end, it is more about having fun and learning how to present yourself on stage than anything else. After all, no one is critiquing you as much as yourself. By the end of the pageant, I found myself genuinely smiling.”

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About the Contributor
Olga Engler
Olga Engler, Photo Manager
Olga Engler is a junior and is the Photo Manager for the 2023-2024 school year. She enjoys listening to music, drawing, and hanging out with her friends.

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