Ardelle released the hands of her first runner up with an overwhelming wave of excitement, pride, and accomplishment. She had done what only an exclusive group of teens have achieved, by winning the title of Miss Teen Maryland United States 2015 after months of preparation and hard work.
Of all the places you that you can imagine, I met Ardelle on Twitter. Being a titleholder at the time within the Miss United States Organization I was compelled to keep up with all of the upcoming state MUSO competitions and queens with the help of social media. One day, the enthusiasm of one young woman caught my attention. It was evident from her tweets that Ardelle genuinely had a love, determination, and passion for pageants. She would tweet about her excitement, pageant prep, and her dream of winning with her followers. Intrigued, I began following the teen and by the time her competition date approached, I couldn't help but cheer her on from the Midwest. Whenever someone leaves an impression on you from a completely different region of the country, they're worth cheering for!
From the moment that crown was placed on her head, Ardelle hit the ground running and made the balancing act of being a senior at Bowie High School (class of 2016!), and beauty queen look effortless. As her reign comes to an end this weekend, I can't help but feel tremendously proud and excited for this young queen's next endeavor. Between prepping for her final walk, and the hectic behind the scenes work of the upcoming pageant, Ardelle found the time to discuss her year with me and what's to come.
Check out an exclusive farewell interview below!
Girl, you have had quite the journey! When did it all begin for you??
I started pageantry in the Summer of 2014, I was 16 and super excited to get involved in a new activity.
What was your motivation to begin competing in pageantry?
It was something I’ve always wanted to do. I guess growing up watching Toddlers and Tiaras it sparked an idea and I went for it.
So many girls hold the dream of winning a state pageant title. What did it feel like to compete for the title of Miss Teen Maryland United States, AND walk away with the crown?!
I was overly prepared and confident. I knew going in, this is what I wanted and I am going to accomplish my goal. Winning felt as if I was holding my breath forever. I could finally breathe and stop squeezing my first runner up’s hands. I kept telling myself “I did it.. I did it”
What is the most memorable moment from your year as a titleholder?
I spoke to the entire student body of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School about the dangers of CyberBullying and suicide prevention. A few months later, a student who was in the audience came to my job and we kept in touch. I was able to come back to the middle school and talk to the students individually. Little did I know, I changed lives with my speech. I inspired and educated students who remembered me. The small things like that is just bitter sweet.
You just have to tell us! What preparations did you take to win your state title.
Hours of training! Having a coach in such a competitive system is key. We worked on everything from mock interviews, dress rehearsals, down to what I was wearing check in and check out. I can’t tell you how many times I was always in the mirror practicing my poses or in the shower answering commonly asked interview questions.
You have worked with so many wonderful organizations throughout your reign. Is there an organization in particular that you really enjoyed working with during your year?
The Best Buddies Organization was a non-profit outside of my platform that encourages friendship with people with mental disabilities. I loved working with my school’s chapter and even met my buddy Emily through the program!
Name the pageant essential that you can’t live without!
Chinese Laundry Tippy Tops! They are my go to shoes in and outside of pageantry.
Do you have any makeup tips to share with future teen contestants?
Definitely cater to your face. Don’t get caught up in the hype with YouTube videos, contouring, and all these crazy hacks with tape and cultural symbols on your face! Hire a makeup artist (someone who’s done pageant makeup before) trust me, they know what’s best. Makeup is one less thing you’ll have to worry about if you book a professional. It is so hard to do a perfect winged eyeliner when you have to compete for your dream title in less than an hour.
What is your favorite moment in pageant history?!
Besides winning Miss Teen Maryland, watching my role model, Mame Adjei “Miss Maryland USA 2015” place top 5 at Miss USA and then runner up at America’s Next Top Model. I look up to her so much.
How did you balance being a student, and a beauty queen?
It was such an easy balance for me. I felt like I lived a double life sometimes. During the weekdays I was an everyday student, and on the weekends I was a teen philanthropist.
Any words of advice to your successor?
All new former queens receive this question, so I just have to ask you; what’s next in your near future?!
More pageants! I guess you can say I'm a pageant hopper. It's what I love to do so why stop?
I am wishing you all the best Ardelle, congratulations on such a successful reign!
Connect with Ardelle
Instagram: Ardelle Dickerson
Facebook: Ardelle Dickerson