A Seymour teen has earned the opportunity to represent Indiana in the National American Miss Pageant at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, next month.
Jacqueline Rivera, the daughter of Elmer and Claudia Rivera, was named the 2019 National American Miss Indiana junior teen at a pageant last month in Indianapolis. This is her sixth year participating in the pageant but her first time winning the title.
"This will be my third time going to California for the pageant, but this time will be different," Rivera said. "With winning the title, the pageant pays for all my sponsorships, where in the past when I went as a runner-up or had placed, we had to pay for those sponsor fees."
She earned the opportunity to attend nationals through her successfully scored events at last month’s pageant and will have the opportunity to win her share of more than $500,000 in cash and prizes, according to a news release from National American Miss.
Girls qualifying for the national pageant also have a chance to win a new Ford Mustang convertible. Rivera is 14 and a freshman at Seymour High School, which would mean she would need to wait awhile before driving the car if she won, but it would be worth the wait.
She was the Heart of Service winner, Spirit Award winner, best résumé winner, best thank-you note winner, fan club winner, runway model winner, spokesmodel winner, photogenic winner, top model winner, most promising model winner and first runner-up in casual wear.
Rivera said she has been in the pageant for so many years because she enjoys it.
"My favorite part of being in the pageants is that I love all the friendships I make," Rivera said. "I have made so many friends through my journey, and I still keep in touch with all of them."
Rivera said a lot of times, people think pageants are all about rivalry and competition.
"I think that when you’re competing with your friends, it’s a great way to express yourself," Rivera said. "Being in pageants with friends is also a fun time, and that’s what my favorite thing is about the pageant."
For any girls considering entering the pageant, Rivera said she would tell them to go for it.
"I have learned so many skills and how to be confident and how to express myself," she said. "I mostly just enjoy myself no matter what the outcome is."
Rivera said it took her years to win the pageant in Indianapolis, and by participating in the event for so long, she learned life skills that are useful in everyday life, like for job interviews and other things. She said just don’t give up and keep persevering.