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North Salem Daily Voice serves North Salem, NY

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North Salem Teen Competes in Pageant

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - North Salem’s Kayla Milanes, 14, will be going shopping for a dress pretty soon. She has been chosen as a downstate finalist for the National American Miss Junior Teen Pageant, coming up this summer.

The National American Miss Pageant focuses on building confidence and self-esteem. Contestants are judged on poise and personality in a one-on-one interview, speaking effectively in public, bearing and composure in formal wear and community involvement.

“This pageant is all about inner beauty,” explained Kayla’s mother, Nzingha Milanes. “There’s no bathing suit requirement and the girls don’t get all glammed up. Only a little makeup is allowed.”

“I have no idea what they’ll ask in the interview,” said Kayla. “They give you a booklet with sample questions so you can prepare. My goal is not to win -- although that would be nice. Mainly I want to gain self-confidence, make some new friends, and have a good experience while I’m doing it.”

Milanes, an honor roll freshman at North Salem High, has been active in theater and school plays as long as she can remember. “I was the understudy for Jenny Lind in Barnum,” the high school’s latest musical production, “and I sing in the chorus at school. I just joined the Westchester Glee Chorus. It’s a lot of fun. And I’m going to be in the MSG Varsity’s Talent Show in March.”

“I used to dance, tap and jazz, but I gave that up,” she said. “Now I’m starting sports, though. I just finished field hockey and I’m going to start lacrosse.”

When young Milanes is not singing, acting, competing or studying, she teaches Toddler Sunday School at the Croton Falls Community Church. “It’s little lessons about the Bible,” she explained.

It is the congregation of the Community Church that is sponsoring Milanes’s entry into the pageant. “Please mention it,” her mother added, “because we are very grateful.”

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