GLEN ROSE - Every year thousands of girls and women compete in beauty pageants. Some compete for the fame and notoriety, others use it as a platform to further their educational goals.
Alexis Provo, a Glen Rose High School senior and Granbury resident, falls into the latter category of pageant competitors.
When Alexis competes in Fort Worth at the Miss Teen pageant on Sunday, Feb. 28, it will only be the second time she has participated in a pageant and her first in over 16 years. Alexis' first foray happened when her mother, Shannon Samuelson entered her into one at six months old.
“Everywhere we went everybody was like 'What a beautiful baby.' One day we happened to be in the mall and they were doing the pageant, and I was just kidding around with her dad and said, ‘We should enter her’ and we did and she won first place,” Shannon laughed.
This time around the 17-year-old was nominated for the pageant by an unknown person. When Shannon presented Alexis with the opportunity, she couldn’t turn it down.
Alexis said that one of her motivating factors for competing in the pageant is to earn scholarship money. She will be attending Central Michigan University in the fall, and, once her undergraduate is complete, Alexis is hoping to enter law school at Michigan State University College of Law.
Although Miss Teen is only her second pageant, the years Alexis has spent in theater have prepared her to walk across the pageant stage.
During the competition she will compete in modeling routines for casual and formal wear. There will also be an interview portion where Alexis will have a chance to display her personality for the judges. The number one criteria for judging is personality.
Most people have a fear of being judged in their everyday life, but imagine getting on a stage and being judged. Alexis isn’t one of those people that has an issue with all eyes being on her.
“It’s kind of like a rush of adrenaline. You kind of forget that everyone is staring at you and you just get into the moment,” Alexis added. “I like being on the stage. I’ve always enjoyed being in plays, so just having people look at me [isn’t a problem].”
Both Shannon and Alexis say they aren’t worried about her falling into traps such as eating disorders or body-image issues that are commonly associated with the pageant world, because she is a strong individual and doesn’t let anyone push her around.
In a world where girls aren’t always taught to speak their minds, Alexis is fiery and passionate about what she believes to be right.
“Everyone has their own opinions and beliefs and I always try my hardest to listen to everyone’s beliefs and not be biased,” Alexis explained. “So I feel like the things I say and the beliefs I have are pretty decent and when people try to fight me on them [I stand up] and say, ‘You can think that, but you have to let people live their life’.”
“Alexis has always been very much an individual,” Shannon said. “She is who she is and she makes no excuses to who she is. And I give her kudos to that, because a lot of girls aren’t willing to stand up for their beliefs and she is just something else.”
That determination and outspokenness is one the reasons Alexis would like to be a lawyer.
“I want to do a few years of civil rights law and criminal law and I want to be in a court case that makes an actual difference in our country,” Alexis said. "[A case] that affects something really big and I want to be the one to get it done.”
While scholarship and prize money is the main reason Alexis entered into the pageant, the high cost associated with competing was the reason Shannon did not continue to place her daughter in the competitions the first time around.
According to Statistic Brain, approximately 2.5 million girls compete in more than 100,000 pageants each year in the U.S.
Bankrate.com stated that the pursuit of a tiara and title is a $5-billion-a-year industry. Between pageant entry fees, gowns, hair, makeup, and professional coaching expenses rack up pretty quickly.
Girls and women that compete at certain national levels can spend upwards of $5,000 on pageant gowns. The higher the level of the competition, the higher the costs are.
Alexis isn’t competing in a pageant with a high price tag, but there still are costs associated for her to compete.
She already has her gown, which is her prom dress from last year, but she is still looking for sponsors to help offset additional costs. Through the sponsorship, Alexis will receive all the necessary training and rehearsals. Sponsors will be recognized in the pageants program and Alexis has a special thank you prepared for all of her backers.
Any business, organization or private individual interested in becoming a sponsor for Alexis can contact the Miss Teen Fort Worth Pageant coordinator at 877-403-6678.
Even though she hasn’t competed in a lot of pageants, Alexis is still fully invested and would love to win the title of 2016 Miss Teen. If she wins Miss Teen she will go on to represent the Fort Worth area at the National Pageant in Orlando, where she would compete for a share of more than $30,000 in prizes.