5 Things I Learned At My First National Pageant

Miss Jr Teen United States 2015 Top 5

Miss Junior Teen United States 2015 Top 5 

So you’ve won your State pageant, or you are thinking positive about the possibility of competing on a National stage. Well that means you’re already halfway there. Congratulations to you! Today I’m blogging about the 5 things I learned at my first National pageant. Hopefully the tips will help encourage another young lady who is just as beyond excited as I was. Here we go.

  1. Do yourself a favor and ignore ALL of the tempting social media posts with subjects like, “Top 15 Predictions” or “Miss Junior Teen United States Winner Predictions” ETC. With so many amazing pageant sister delegates, remember how hard each of you have probably worked for the crown. If you don’t make it on the lists of predictions, you may start to feel that you don’t have a chance. If you see that you do make it on these lists, you may think that you can relax and stop your pageant prep work. Either way I see it, save checking out the fun predictions for after the pageant. Quick Tip: I learned the hard way. After I didn’t make it on ANY of the prediction lists, I still finished in my pageant’s TOP 5! Thank goodness I am a very optimistic and positive person and didn’t let it get to me too much. 🙂
  2. Enjoy the once in a lifetime experience and above all have FUN! With all the responsibilities and your whole team counting on you, it’s easy to over think and stress out during competition. I learned the second I got there that I was in for the time of my life. It was so much fun, you wouldn’t believe! From meeting my new pageant sisters, attending fittings for competition wardrobe, going into hair and make-up EVERY day; I had a blast. Whatever you do, make it fun because it all ends way too quick.
  3. Don’t wait till pageant week to meet the other delegates. As soon as you win your State crown, be sure to congratulate other sister queens from each state on social media. If you are really blessed, you will be able to attend neighboring states to appear at pageants that come after yours. I met so many sweet and awesome Jr. Teens on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. By the time we got to the competition, we were already friends and excited about seeing each other in person. A few of them will be friends for life, I’m sure of it.
  4. In between rehearsals, coaching, hair and make up appointments, team meetings, and competitions; make sure to take in the sights and visit the vendors and sponsor tables. Okay I have a confession, I didn’t do enough of this. Our pageant was in Washington DC, the nation’s capital. The city is so rich in history and I really wanted to get some photos at the White House. If I had it to do over, I would definitely plan a few hours to be a tourist next time. I did get to have fun seeing all of the vendor tables and sponsors. My favorite was Ruby Red Sweets!

Last, but maybe the most important thing that I learned was to plan ahead.

5. Plan and prepare months before pageant week so that you can take in the experience with very little stress. One of my favorite quotes is about how if you fail to plan, you can be sure to plan to fail. My pageant state director made sure that we had opportunities to have coaching, workshops, sponsors to work with us, pageant wardrobe sponsors, and team events. By the time we hit the road to Miss Junior Teen United States 2015, I was absolutely ready. I really think that is why I had great fun. Every time I stepped on stage the only thing I could think about was, pinch me is this real?

Plan, plan, plan!

Plan, plan, plan! Then just trust that you’re ready and have FUN.


How to Dress For a Modeling Open Call

One thing I love about having pageant sisters is learning from them. So much of my reign has been amazing because of my big sister queens in both the Miss United States and Miss World Organization. Well, the other day I needed to learn how to dress for a model open call. I decided to REBLOG and share this awesome post with other pageant sisters and anyone else interested in modeling, who just may need it.

HUGE shout out to the beautiful and smart Victoria Mendoza, Miss World America.

VM Consulting

casting call

If you’ve ever been curious about modeling, or wanted to give it a try, you probably have a bajillion questions about it, like:

1. How do I get started?

2. How do I know which agency to pick, if any?

3. What are the requirements?


Believe me, it’s completely normal to ask yourself these questions. I know I did before I got started in this industry.

Hopefully today I will answer one of the most dreaded questions: What should I wear to an open call?

Most agencies will host what they call, an “Open Call” every so often. This is an opportunity for prospective models to come into the agency to submit some photos, take a few more digitals, and, if you’re lucky, get some face-time with the booking agent. In my opinion, this is THE way to go if you want to…

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Haiti Fashion Week Previews at Fashion Focus CHICago

Haiti Fashion Week Preview 2015 in ChicagoI’m beyond excited to be walking for the 2015 Haiti Fashion Week Preview, as they hit the Chicago runway for the VERY first time. Please save the date and come out for an exciting time. Fashion Focus CHICago will shine a spotlight on the windy city’s fashion industry with a huge celebration!

One day I’d love to travel to Haiti for Fashion Week. The 4th Edition Haiti Fashion Week 2015 in Port-au-Prince has been announced. The theme for the week is Nourrir Haïti (Nurture Haiti). Visit the Haiti Sentinel for dates.

Haitian top designers have been invited to preview during Fashion Focus CHICago, the City of Chicago’s celebration of fashion, with a goal to showcase beautiful designs and educate the audience about Haitian culture and art through 500 years.

Advance tickets purchase via Eventbrite required due to limited available seating. –

Persida Louison, Show – Co/Producer

Monday, October 5

Our Fashion, Our Heritage: Haiti Fashion Week Preview
Block Thirty Seven
108 N. State St., 3rd Floor

Noon–6 p.m. shopping
6:30 p.m. ticketed runway

Haiti Fashion Week will host a runway and selling event with its top designers. The “Our Fashion, Our Heritage” theme will cover 500 years of Haiti’s existence with a modern twist to appeal to a 21st century audience. The shopping event is free and general admission for the runway event is $15. VIP tickets are $25 and includes a swag bag. Visit fashionfocuschicago.org.
Learn more about the other highlights via Fashion Studio Magazine, including: Youth-based professional development workshops with Latino Fashion Week; Style Bias, a runway program presented through a collaboration with YOUmedia, Commonwealth and Donda’s House; and showcases by African Fashion Week Chicago, NEXT Fashion Chicago, StyleChicago.com and Haiti Fashion Week.

Scholarships With October 2015 Deadlines

There are so many ways to look for scholarships for college. I learned from my older sisters and brother that it’s never too soon to start looking. Here is a great list to start our search off. Best wishes everyone.

JLV College Counseling

48 Scholarships with October 2015 deadlines | JLV College Counseling Blog

Attending college can be quite expensive for students and their families. Luckily, there are many college scholarships and contests available to help pay for a college education. Students should seek out and apply for scholarships in which they meet the eligibility requirements. Below are 48 college scholarships and contests with October 2015 deadlines. Only brief information about each scholarship is listed. Therefore, students are encouraged to visit the scholarship websites to get further details about eligibility and requirements.

Anders Tjellstrom Scholarship
Sponsor: Cochlear
Amount: $2,000 – renewable for up to four years, assuming the scholarship recipient maintains a 2.5 GPA or better.
Deadline: Oct. 1, 2015
Description: Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors and current college students who have a Baha® device.

Asian Women in Business Scholarship
Sponsor: Asian Women In Business
Amount: Up to $5,000
Deadline: Oct. 1, 2015
Description: Scholarship is open to women who are…

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Dance Movement Towards Better Health

team illinois dance rehearsal fun

I’m really liking this blogging thing. It makes me sort out some of the best moments in my life and how my story might inspire others. I haven’t posted in a while since I’ve been so busy with my reign, community service projects, family, school, and trying to have a social life. But, now that I’ve learned a lot about time management, I want to continue blogging to spread awareness about ending childhood obesity and hunger too.

Today I’m sharing something that is a huge passion of mine. Dance! Ever since I could walk, I was a dancer. I kind of think it was my destiny. When it comes to ending childhood obesity, leading an active lifestyle is very important. What better way to get active than using dance movement towards better health. You can start out with simple moves and let the music inspire you. You can take classes to learn a variety of dances. Whatever you like to do, just do it. The Let’s Move initiative says that we teens and kids need at least one hour of activity each day. Our parents and other adults need at least 30 minutes. Dance is a great way to get this activity in.

Of course you can dance around your house and with your friends in the yard, but there are lots of ways to take classes if you love dance like I do. I was blessed to be accepted into the first public performing arts school of Chicago in my freshman year. Being able to dance there was incredible. Then, because of family challenges, I had to transfer to my local High School this year. It was devastating to me, but I refused to give up my passion and dreams. I now dance in one of the many After School Matters programs, designed to help expose teens to what life has to offer.

You can find free programs in your community too. If you need help let me know, leave a comment and I will get back to you. Remember to get at least 1 hour of activity in each day, 30 minutes for my adult readers. Together we can help end childhood obesity! Love, Ciara 🙂 

Sister Queens in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

During my reign as your Miss Junior Teen Illinois United States, I’ve already had some pretty amazing opportunities to make a difference in my community. But, one event I’m really excited about is Stomp the Runway – The Fight Against Childhood Obesity, which is advocating about our Beauty With a Purpose platform, Childhood Obesity Awareness. I have the honor of co-hosting with my sister queen who is also in the fight against childhood obesity, and we invite you to join us for a fun-filled evening for people of all ages. 

Here is some information about the event and I sincerely hope to see you there. If you can’t attend, please contact me to donate a ticket to a young person who might otherwise not be able to come out.

Sister Queens in the Fight to End Childhood Obesity

Sister Queens in the Fight to End Childhood Obesity

 Date Wednesday June 17, 2015 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Admission :: http://stomptherunwaychicago.eventbrite.com/

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the pet charities of each queen:

Jenna Mills – NoKidHungry.org Ciara Evans – Hashtag Lunchbag Chicago

Join Jenna Mills, Miss Iowa World, Miss Jr. Teen Illinois United States 2015 – Ciara Evans and Benjamin Cottrell, BENJAMIN COTTRELL DESIGNS for an evening with a great cause on the Rooftop of FFC Lincoln Park with incredible skyline views!

This event supports First Lady, Michelle Obama’s LET’S MOVE! Campaign (www.letsmove.gov), America’s initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids!

The evening will feature an Activewear Fashion Show by Designers:
– Under Armor
– Luxskin Athletic by Richelle Deanna
– SK Threads by Wilbert Williams
– Porta Pocket by Kendra Koll

activewear brands for stomp the runway

The Fashion Show will open with the amazing BODY MOVE DANCE group directed by Regan Farag! Lively music all evening long by our favorite “kid” in town, DJ APPLEJACKZ!

Event Features:
** Keynote speaker, Laureal Arnolin on her total body transformation! **
** Health, Wellness, and Activewear Shopping Vendors **
** Wine Bar by AGED 2 PERFECTION **
** Planting Garden Station by Sponsor HOME DEPOT **
** DRINK UP Station featuring various water Sponsors **
** Gimme Five Station **
** 60 second challenge station **
** Face Paint station **

Doesn’t that sound like fun? We would love your support and hope to see you there. Thanks for dropping by my blog. 🙂 Love, Ciara

Spotlight on Sponsor Everything For Pageants

When it comes to putting together wardrobe for pageants or even prom, don’t you love one-stop shopping?  The Miss Illinois United States Organization wardrobe sponsor, Everything For Pageants is the ideal place to find nearly everything on your list. From your dream formal dress, designer shoes, and fine jewelry for your next beauty pageant, prom, or other special event, they’ve got it. With all of the pageant preparation to get to Miss Jr. Teen United States, having awesome sponsors makes it just that much easier and a lot more fun! Mrs. Kimberly and her assistant Chelsea really treated me like a celebrity. Ciara and Everything For Pageants Staff

When we got the announcement about our 1st official titleholder photoshoot, I was super excited. It’s so much fun to get all ‘glam’ and work with the photographers and creative directors to get the right look. The official hair and make up team sets up a little salon and gets right to it, making us all glamorous and amazing. But, one of the huge stars of any photoshoot is THE perfect gown! Thank goodness for Everything For Pageants for making sure my gowns are magical and perfect. I worked closely with the staff, one-on-one. From the hundreds and hundreds of dresses, I was able to play dress up for hours and try on as many as I could. Fun, fun, FUN! They even had designer shoes and the best fine jewelry to complete the look.

We had great fun searching through hundreds of amazing gowns!

As my wardrobe sponsor, Everything For Pageants was also really helpful in finding me a really spectacular evening gown to wear at the Miss Jr. Teen United States national competition in July. I just can’t wait to show you my gown, get up on the stage, and work hard to make Illinois proud. Look for me out and about in Washington, DC in another fun and fashion forward dress sponsored by Everything For Pageants too!

So, whether you are looking for the perfect prom dress, your next pageant gown, or special event dress; remember how awesome and fun it was for me to work with them. You can experience being treated like a celebrity too. Big, huge thanks to the entire staff, especially Mrs. Kimberly Holliday Triani.

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Disclosure: I was not compensated for my opinion or views, I just think Everything For Pageants is pretty cool and wanted to share with you too. Happy Shopping. 🙂