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Local resident wins pageant award

Brooklyn McKey, a 7-year-old girl from Cygnet, Ohio, showed that even young girls can partake in beauty pageants when she won an award at the National American Miss Ohio Pageant. She was judged in the junior preteen category in Columbus on July 18-19.

McKey first started getting exposed to the pageant when her older sister, Breann McKey, participated in 2009. Their mother, Jennifer McKey, said the girls became involved in the pageant by getting a letter in the mail about it. The girls went to an open session at Levis Commons in Perrysburg and also participated in a three-minute photo shoot. In addition, they were interviewed, which included some basic questions about their favorite colors and hobbies.

During the weekend of the pageant, Jennifer McKey said the first thing was check-in on Friday. Contestants also got to go buy their outfits on Friday and then partake in a formal competition that night where they got to show off their outfits.

Contestants also had the opportunity to be escorted out during the competition by someone who is special to them. Brooklyn McKey chose to walk with her uncle for this competition.

“My favorite part was when I got to walk with my uncle,” she said.

Next, judges interviewed contestants individually on the second day. The judges then submitted individual category scores for each competition that the contestants participated in throughout the weekend. The winners were also judged in different categories based on their age, such as the princess category, the junior preteen category and the preteen category. Jennifer McKey said Brooklyn was judged in the junior preteen category.

Furthermore, contestants were judged by several criteria at the end of the competition. Jennifer McKey said 30 percent of the criteria are the contestant’s introduction, another 30 percent is judged on the formal competition, the final 30 percent is based on the individual interview, and the remaining 10 percent is determined by community service. Jennifer McKey said Brooklyn’s community service project involved helping her grandma at Blakely Nursing Home in Bowling Green.

On top of that, other factors that judges consider are how well the contestants make eye contact and how they are able to communicate with confidence.

“It’s not all about who’s the most beautiful, but who’s the most confident,” Jennifer McKey said.

Brooklyn received a Miss Ohio trophy with her name on it among the 200 other girls in the junior preteen division, according to Jennifer McKey.

In turn, she said Brooklyn’s participation in the competition has helped her to grow and that she enjoyed doing it. Jennifer McKey also said Brooklyn has always been a “social butterfly,” but that she has also found it even easier to make friends because of the confidence that contestants experience from the competition.

“She’s opened up some more,” Jennifer McKey said. “She can do stuff if she puts her mind to it.”

All in all, it appears that the pageant helps girls to become more confident and realize that they are beautiful just the way that are because of what they learn from standing up in front of people during the competition.

“I think it’s a rewarding experience,” Jennifer McKey said. “It helps to teach them to be more confident.”

The National American Miss Ohio Pageant is open to girls aged 5 to 17 and interested parties can also enter to win online at

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