At Madeira, Dylan Murphy ’16 is known as a skilled lacrosse player, White Team Captain and diligent student. But this past winter, Dylan added another title to her resume, pageant winner. On December 19, 2015, Dylan was crowned Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2016.
Skye Jannery-Barney, a rising junior from Great Falls, VA, began competing in pageants in 7th grade. At Madeira, she excels in her English courses, on the volleyball and basketball courts and can’t wait to conquer the Hill in her Co-Curriculum placement next year. This spring, Skye was named Miss Virginia Teen for 2016.
We sat down with Dylan and Skye for a Q & A on what it took and takes to be Miss DC Teen USA and Miss Virginia Teen.
Dylan: Miss District of Columbia Teen USA is a state preliminary pageant run by the Miss Universe Organization. We compete in three preliminary competitions (interview, swim suit, and evening gown). The first cut is made and then we compete in swim suit and evening gown a second time, and have to answer an onstage question (this is the scary part).
Skye: Miss Virginia Teen America is the state-level title of the national Miss Teen America scholarship program, consisting of competition categories including evening gown, fitness, interview, and fashion. MTA judges girls by how well-rounded they are in different aspect of their lives, such as academics, extracurricular activities, community service, personality, and fitness.
Dylan: A Madeira graduate introduced me to pageants. She was first runner-up (second place) at the 2014 Miss DC Teen USA competition. She thought I would really enjoy competing and encouraged me to enter. She actually had me meet her at the interest meeting for the pageant without telling me what it was for.
Skye: I entered the Jr. Teen division a few years ago so I decided to come back for the older, teen division this year. Originally, when I entered the MTA program a few years ago, middle school was such a transitional and insecure period in my life that my family thought it would be a good way to step outside of my comfort zone. It ended up being the greatest confidence boost I've ever had. The MTA program gives girls the opportunity to make a difference in the community, build confidence and leadership, and meet other incredible girls from around the country.
Skye: My Madeira experiences helped me to gain confidence, people skills and judges support through its rigorous academics and Co-Curriculum program.
Dylan: Each stage of competition requires preparation. For the interview, I practiced answering questions under pressure. It was important to keep myself up to date with popular issues and current events. For the on-stage portion, as silly as it sounds, I practiced walking. I also focused on exercising and eating well in order to make sure I felt my best while competing on stage.
Dylan: As Miss District of Columbia Teen USA, I represent the young people of DC. It’s my job to set an example and encourage kids to be the best they can be.
Skye: As Miss Virginia Teen America, I use my title in a positive way in the greater community through representing organizations and attending events, helping girls build confidence and leadership, and spreading the message of my platform which is human trafficking.
What do you think is a common misconception about pageants and/or pageant contestants?
Dylan: There are SO many misconceptions about pageants and pageant girls. First, pageants are not all about how pretty you are and being skinny. In the swim suit competition (which is somewhat controversial), we are judged on our “healthy lifestyle” and how we carry ourselves. You do not have to be crazy small, it is only important that you are healthy. Second, pageant girls are very smart! These girls are some of the most intelligent and accomplished girls that I have ever met. Pageant girls get a bad rep but for the most part are smart, funny, and accomplished young women.
Skye: The most widely accepted misconception about pageants is that they have no purpose other than to show off girls' beauty. However, through my own experience, pageants strive to create well-rounded, poised, independent young women who are ready to use their leadership skills in the real world. Pageants give girls the opportunity to show the public who they are and what they are passionate about.