Queen's Corner: Farewell Miss Teen Maryland United States 2015

Ardelle Dickerson Miss Teen Maryland United States 2015 crowning moment

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”

Ardelle working that confidence on stage for the swimsuit competition!

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.

Using her voice to make an impact

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.

Hire a makeup team!

Hire a makeup team!

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.

Photo cred: Mama Adjei, Miss Maryland USA

 

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?

 

Ardelle looking regal at nationals. her amazing photographer father captured this moment!

I am wishing you all the best Ardelle, congratulations on such a successful reign!


Connect with Ardelle

Twitter: @MissTeenMD   

Instagram: Ardelle Dickerson

Facebook: Ardelle Dickerson

What I Wish I Knew Before My First Pageant

My first pageant back in 2011!

Before I finally landed my first state pageant title, I was a beginner just like we all are when we pursue new things. After four years of competing I can confidently say that I have not only grown as a person, but also attained an abundance of information and advice for incoming pageant girls! Below you will find, seven things I wish I knew before my first pageant.

1) INVEST IN COACHING

Hey, we all can't be Olivia Culpo, and her story isn't one that occurs often. Pageant coaching isn't a requirement or a prerequisite to compete in your first pageant, however it is a valuable tool to aid in your success. Pageant coaches can assist you with all of the imperative skills needed to land yourself that crown! I walked into my first state pageant without a coach, and won an award for my interview skills. Imagine what else I could have attained if I was coached and trained appropriately.

Your coach should be a person that is easy to communicate with, and one that brings out your best self on stage for the judges. If you come across a coach that isn't invested in you, doesn't offer constructive and helpful criticism, or isn't respected within the pageant community RUN!

I'd LOVE to see MIss Jay as a pageant coach!

I'd LOVE to see MIss Jay as a pageant coach!

2) STUDY WHAT STYLE AND FASHIONS MATCH THE SYSTEM

Every pageant system has their own taste in what they find stylish and queen worthy. Miss USA loves bold and sexy evening gowns, while Miss America finds the sex appeal in being elegant. Taking note of what the reigning queens are wearing in the system you are interested in will help you find your own style within the organization's aesthetic. I wouldn't have looked so "teen" in my first pageant had I researched more on what gowns and wardrobe selections win. But don't worry, I learned my lesson!

3) PACK POWER SNACKS

Yes, many systems will feed their girls during pageant weekend. However, it doesn't hurt to bring some healthy munchies to snack on in order to keep your energy up. I have personally seen girls get so caught up in running an opening number that they forget to go grab lunch! Trust me, after a long day of rehearsals and excitement you'll be glad that you have something to satisfy your hunger if needed. Plus, if you come prepared, your family won't have to bring you any snackage (guilty...thanks for the trail mix mom)!

4) BRING BABY WIPES FOR BUTT GLUE

Yes, butt glue is a pageant essential! It will ensure that the focus stays on you, while ensuring that your swimsuit bottoms do the same. There's nothing like jumping out of your swimsuit before the evening gown competition, and consequently having your evening gown get glued to your butt. Trust me when I say that I've learned this lesson so that it doesn't happen to YOU. Do yourself and that Sherri Hill a favor, and wipe off that butt glue!

5) IT'S OKAY TO BE ANXIOUS, NERVOUS, OR ALL OF THE ABOVE

Pageant weekend is a whirlwind. You spend months preparing for this moment only for it to be over as quickly as it came. You will go through so many different emotions (even pageant pros still get nervous) pageant weekend, and it is perfectly valid and normal. Take a deep breath and remember that at the core of pageant weekend is a new experience holding an abundance of fun.

My personal mantra "Feel the fear...and do it anyway!"

6) IF GETTING YOUR MAKE UP DONE PROFESSIONALLY, BE PREPARED FOR TOUCH UPS

Whether your make up artist gives you a small amount of the lipstick he/she used, or you have your own stash with similar colors, ensure that you have a way to do small touch ups throughout your day. Feathering lips and a shiny T-Zone aren't flattering in pictures, so stay prepared!

7) THERE IS A CHANCE THAT YOU WON'T WALK AWAY WITH THE CROWN

You have officially conquered your first pageant! Completing pageant weekend in its own right is a great feat. I think it's important to identify what you consider a loss, win, and a goal accomplishment. Your mindset will determine the severity of how you react to whatever outcome occurs. If your entire goal coming into pageant weekend is to win a sparkling hat, then you have already assumed the wrong attitude. I won't lie, it sucks to lose, and I've experienced that feeling of disappointment before. However I was able to bring myself out of it knowing that I grew as a person, and that I made valuable friends and connections that I wouldn't be able to make elsewhere. Many of the girls that I met during my first pageant are still in contact with me five years later!

I met Chass during my first pageant, we were roomies!

Just please always act as if you are wearing your invisible crown. Even though the pageant is over, you don't want to become infamous for being the sore loser at last year's pageant who didn't walk away in a positive light.