By Tom Momberg
Nyah Stevens, 15, of Rosedale is preparing for her first beauty pageant in January, hoping to go from there to representing the state as Miss New York at the National 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant.
Stevens is a freshman at Bayside High School, where she maintains a strong academic standing and competes on the track and field team. She says pageantry is something she is looking forward to.
“I always wanted to do this since I was a little girl,” Stevens said. “It kind of developed from there as I got older. I developed some independence and realized I would have to put in the work myself to achieve my goals.”
And Stevens has pushed herself as she gets ready to compete in the pageant the weekend of Jan. 15 at the Purchase College Performing Arts Center—something she said has helped her gain a sense of responsibility and self-respect.
The Miss New York Teen USA pageant pushes teenage girls to have poise. It is supposed to be less about competing with talent and ability, and more about exhibiting strong personality, creativity and beauty.
“I don’t look up to celebrities as much as I look up to my mom and my other family members,” Stevens said when asked what has encouraged her. “Many of my immediate family members are immigrants, and I’ve seen how the women have pushed and worked hard to be where they are… It’s all about how you present yourself to others as a woman and how you define your own success.”
Stevens said her group of friends have been very supportive of her efforts to get involved with the pageant. She is currently picking out dresses and practicing public speech in preparation for the event.
But one thing the young woman still needs is sponsors. Her sponsorship fee of $1,500 goes toward pageant fees, room, food and board for the weekend of the event.
Stevens already has the support of her family, but the state directors of the pageant urge contestants to connect with and ask community businesses and leaders to make small contributions to help them on their way.
Business sponsors can promote their brands when they become sponsors, and they are represented as such during the weekend of the pageant.
Potential sponsors can reach out to Stevens’ parents, Sarahdine and Tyrone Stevens, at ketia
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb