Jenna Belle Johnson of Tujunga has been selected to compete in the 2013 Miss Jr. Pre-Teen pageant for Pasadena/San Bernardino. At age 9, she will be in the youngest of the four age divisions of the pageant, which will be held on March 2.
“I’m excited to get into it and learn new skills,” she said. She will be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes as well as special gifts.
Jenna was accepted after interviewing with the pageant coordinator over a month ago and has been preparing ever since.
“We’ve done our own research,” said her mother Monica Johnson. “They want to see that contestants want to develop talents.”
With the help of family, friends and the pageant itself, Jenna has been practicing how to walk, how to model formal and casual wear, and most importantly how to interview. With regards to whether training has been easy or hard she said, “both at the same time.” Some things came easy for her, such as the distinct pageant walk that all contestants try to master.
“I put a book on my head,” she explained. When asked whether it ever fell off she quietly answered, “nope.”
This competition stresses personality as a contestant’s most important attribute.
“We are discovering (and helping her to discover) who Jenna really is,” her mother said. Since Jenna was born, one of her key strengths has been her fortitude and at merely 9 years old, she has seen her share of challenges.
She was born with cataracts that required an operation when she was only 11 days old. She has also suffered from asthma attacks throughout her life, some leading to hospitalization. Recently she had an operation to remove her appendix. Yet through all of this, Jenna not only survived these challenges, she surmounted them with grace.
Her mother remembered praying for her daughter during those dark times and said that Jenna’s attitude gave her a sense of serenity.
“The doctors were always amazed at how calm she was,” she said with pride.
Family and faith are what empowers that calm in her during tough times. It is this quiet fortitude that she will bring with her to the competition.
For her age, Jenna is also a bit of a veteran public speaker. Not only has she made speeches at her school, but she also is a Girl Scout patrol leader and has given talks at her local church about ethics.
“I’m trying to be a good example,” she said.
Jenna is being sponsored by her family and friends as well as local community members and businesses. She wants to follow her brothers’ footsteps and go to college one day, saying, “I’m the only girl in my family.”
Winning on March 2 would also qualify her to compete in the national competition in Orlando, Fla. Over $30,000 in prizes is awarded each year, which could help make her college dreams a reality.
Anyone wishing to become a sponsor for Jenna can do so by contacting the Miss Jr. Pre-Teen Pasadena/San Bernardino Pageant coordinator at 1-877-403-6678.