This November, Ava Mehta from Edina will travel to Anaheim, Calif. to compete in the National All-American Miss pageant. Nine-year-old Ava competed in her very first pageant for National American Miss this past summer in Madison, Wis. in the junior pre-teen category where she won the opportunity to represent Edina as Miss Edina on the national level for National All-American Miss.
This pageant differentiates itself from typical “beauty” pageants in that contestants are judged on poise and presentation during a formal wear competition, personality, communication and confidence during an interview and also on participation in a community service project. Organizers aim to teach and reward good communication and presentation skills while welcoming and celebrating all manner of appearance.
A friend of Ava’s participated in a prior year and encouraged Ava to try it out. So, she applied. “I got a letter in the mail. I was standing next to Mom when she read the letter. I was excited,” Ava says.
In order to prepare for the state level pageant, Ava would need an evening gown and to write a personal introduction. “It was hard to write an introduction,” she says. “You don’t know what the judges think or what the scores are. So, you don’t know how to do it or what would be best.” But she embraced the idea of formal wear and is looking forward to that part of the next pageant the most. She says, “I have a giant poufy dress that’s really comfortable.”
Ava also enjoys the talent portion of participating in pageants. In Wisconsin, she performed a dance to a song called New World by Krewella. She says the pageant experience has helped her build more self-confidence, learn how not to be afraid when presenting in public and to have good posture.
Most importantly to Ava and her family is her platform. She says, “My platform is autism awareness because my brother is autistic, and I want other people to appreciate people with autism. If they don’t treat him well, how is he supposed to grow? We need to be kind.”
Congratulations Ava! We wish you well in California where up to 120 young ladies from across the country will compete for the title of All-American Miss. It seems young Ava has already learned a lot from her pageant experience.