Jordan High senior wins pageant, classmate places in top 10
Jordan High senior Rachel Bell was named Miss Utah Teen USA. (Miss Utah Teen USA Facebook page)
Two Jordan High School seniors represented their school well at the Miss Utah Teen USA Pageant by taking the crown and placing in the top 10.
Senior Rachel Bell won the title while classmate Tabitha Wilson placed eighth.
“We’re having so much fun dancing and hugging one another, and wanted each other to do well, we all felt like we won,” Tabitha said. “I was really excited though when it was announced Rachel did win.”
Bell said as they had their final walk after the judges had tallied their score, she was having fun.
“I was blowing kisses to the family and enjoying the moment,” she said. “They’re not wanting to see a certain image, but ourselves. It’s our personality they’re looking for.”
When the emcee announced it was Bell who was named the Miss Utah Teen USA, the girls dropped each others’ hands Bell said she immediately did what they instructed all of them not to do.
“I remember I put my hands up to my face and that’s exactly what they told us not to do because they wanted to take photos of our reaction,” she said. “I was so surprised, so excited. Then, I cried.”
As Miss Utah Teen USA, Bell said she will not only compete for the national title this summer, but she also has had some “cool opportunities,” such as participating in the Pink Prom Breast Cancer Awareness Night and talking to school children about her title. She plans to attend Utah Valley University and study psychology.
Bell was a runner-up in last year’s pageant.
“My sister was a former Miss Utah in 2012, but even though I snuck in her room and put on the crown, I wasn’t a girly girl so I had no intention of doing it — until last year. I decided to come out of my comfort zone and just do it. I borrowed a dress three months before the pageant and my sister helped me learn how to walk and be comfortable talking to others and being on stage,” she said.
Bell said that she approached it last year “just for fun. I loved it so much and met so many friends who I’ve stayed in touch with that I took it seriously this year.”
During the competition, the girls had to show their confidence as they showed off both active wear and evening gown as well as being interviewed.
Wilson, who has competed in other pageants, said first impressions are big for judges.
“When you first meet someone, you have to show them you’re confident and it’s even more so on stage,” she said.
There wasn’t a talent portion of the competition, but if there had been Wilson could have demonstrated her artistic abilities. While working on her Advanced Placement art portfolio, she drew a colored-pencil portrait of her friend Cheyenne, which was chosen to be shown at the prestigious and highly competitive Utah All-State High School Art Show. The show displays about 350 of the pieces at Springville Museum of Art that are judged from the 1,000 submissions statewide.
She also could have shown her ability in dance as a former Jordan High dance team member. Wilson plans to study communication or nursing at either the University of Utah or Utah Valley University.
Wilson said participants demonstrate their ability to think and speak in front of others.
“Like the Miss America Pageant, the contestants are interviewed and we have to be able to think there on the spot,” she said.
Bell said she was asked about what she learned in preparing for the contest.
“I remember saying I gained confidence in myself and was having fun meeting the other girls,” she said. “I have learned how to accept and love people.”