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Looks like third times a charm for 16-year old Tanisha Morris of Saint Albans, who recently won the Junior Teen crown in the Miss New York Coed Pageant.
The Benjamin Cardozo High School junior had entered the pageant twice before and won this past July.
“I was crying when I won. They put the camera on me 10 minutes later, and I was still crying,” Morris said.
While she was excited to win the title, she realized that it’s not all about winning, it’s about having fun.
“The talent portion is optional, it doesn’t effect who wins, it’s just for fun,” she explained.
To exhibit her talent, she performed a jazz and ballet style dance to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.”
Initially, entering the pageant was her mother’s idea, and after seeing how much fun the girls in the pageant pictures seemed to be having, she decided to enter as well.
“People were surprised when I entered because I was never a girly-girl,” Morris said. “I had a lot of brothers and male cousins and was always a tomboy. Now my friends are like, ‘Oh, another pageant.’ ”
The Miss Coed Pageants is a competition for young women age 3 to 22. Despite its name, the competition does not allow boys.
Unlike many others, the Miss Coed Pageants aim not to focus too much on outward appearance, looking instead at at inner beauty and personality, according to their web site. In fact, pageant rules prohibit girls age 12 and younger from wearing makeup.
As Miss New York Coed, Morris won a $1,000 cash prize, $300 in traveling expenses for the national competition and a day in Walt Disney World, in addition to the trophy, crown and banner.
The prize also allows Morris the opportunity to participate in a variety of events such as walkathons for Sickle Cell Anemia and Lupus. If she wins the national pageant, she will also win a scholarship and cash prize.
Morris has been involved in pageants for four years, and previously won the title of Miss Empire Royalty in 2006. She will hand over that title later this month.
After high school, she aspires to open her own dance studio. In her free time she enjoys modeling, shopping and dancing. Though sometimes being a regular girl is hard.
“Honestly, it is sometimes hard to maintain my grades, but school always comes first; I try to balance both,” she said.

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