The Broadview

Junior wins state pageant crown

Miss+Golden+State+Salina+Kamara+poses+with+her+crown+during+a+photoshoot+for+her+page+in+the+National+Miss+American+Coed+Pageant+program.+The+National+pageant+takes+place+in+Florida+in+November.+Naomi+Evans+%7C+with+permission
Miss Golden State Salina Kamara poses with her crown during a photoshoot for her page in the National Miss American Coed Pageant program. The National pageant takes place in Florida in November. Naomi Evans | with permission

Miss Golden State Salina Kamara poses with her crown during a photoshoot for her page in the National Miss American Coed Pageant program. The National pageant takes place in Florida in November. Naomi Evans | with permission

Miss Golden State Salina Kamara poses with her crown during a photoshoot for her page in the National Miss American Coed Pageant program. The National pageant takes place in Florida in November. Naomi Evans | with permission


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Before this semester is over, Salina Kamara will not only have made it through half of her junior year academics, but will also have competed in the National Miss American Coed Pageant in Florida over Thanksgiving Break.
Kamara said she was inspired to begin pageants when her neighbor, who participated in pageants herself, suggested she join a competition that gave sponsorship money to girls just beginning the pageant process. Kamara used the $900 she won in prize money to compete in her first pageant with Miss American Coed Pageants when she was 8 years old.
“The opportunity to get started in pageants just sort of came up,” Kamara said. “It’s not like I chose between playing soccer or pageants and really thought about it. It was sort of just a thing to try — and now I love it.”
Despite popular belief, not every pageant involves little girls prancing around a stage with too much hairspray and too much make up, according to Kamara. Glitz pageants do involve swimsuit competitions and heavy makeup whereas natural pageants judge on scholarship, service, poise and interview skills.
“Even though I’ve never tried glitz pageants, it’s just not something I’m really interested in because it rarely seems to be the child’s decision to get involved,” Kamara said.
Fatmata Bangura, Kamara’s mother, has been “incredibly supportive” and helpful throughout every pageant Kamara says. Her mother is there for Kamara every step of the way, from evening wear wardrobe decisions to practicing interview questions.
“Salina and I are very close,” Bangura said. “Pageants have really brought us closer together, especially since I travel with her to every event.”
Similar to most of her other extracurricular activities, participating in pageants is a large time commitment for Kamara. She begins to prepare for most of her pageants one to two months beforehand by reviewing interview questions and memorizing her personal introduction — a 30-second speech given before the panel of judges during the evening wear portion of the competition.
“Participating in pageants is like participating in a sport,” Kamara said. “If you want to be good at volleyball you have to do drills; if you want to be good at pageants you have to practice stage presentation and interview questions. It’s definitely not easy.”
The pageant process encourages personal growth, according to Pageant Center, a website promoting pageantry. Successful natural pageant competitors must possess excellent public speaking skills, interview skills, high self esteem and self confidence. It is common for girls to begin their pageant careers lacking some of these traits and to finish with crowns and high self esteem, according to Brian Cournoyer, the State Director for the National American Miss pageants.
“Natural pageants are more about growing as a person and learning life skills,” Cournoyer said. “Pageants give girls poise and confidence they might not have found elsewhere.”
Although pageants promote positive changes within young girls, not everything about the pageant system is perfect. There are sometimes cases of biased judges or pageant directors who have outside relationships with contestants that tilt the scales in their direction according to Kamara.
“I haven’t experienced this personally, but some people say that pageants are unfair in the way they are scored or rigged,” Kamara said. “When the contestants and the directors are close personal friends outside the pageant, then they have a bias and it’s difficult for the rest of us.”
However unfair competitions can get, Kamara’s family support system has been with her every step of the way.
“I have a somewhat large family, and I want to do well when I know that people I love are watching me,” Kamara said.
Kamara’s entire family rallied in Modesto on June 17 to watch her be crowned Miss Golden State 2012. Even after eight years of participating in pageants, Kamara’s heart was pounding while she waited for the judges to call her name.
“It was down to the last three people and then there was this long pause and I knew I had won, but I just had to wait,” Kamara said. “I was so excited and anxious to finally hear them call my name. It was almost surreal.”

Rebecca Siegel
Design Editor

Before this semester is over, Salina Kamara will not only have made it through half of her junior year academics, but will also have competed in the National Miss American Coed Pageant in Florida over Thanksgiving Break.

Kamara said she was inspired to begin pageants when her neighbor, who participated in pageants herself, suggested she join a competition that gave sponsorship money to girls just beginning the pageant process. Kamara used the $900 she won in prize money to compete in her first pageant with Miss American Coed Pageants when she was 8 years old.

Miss Golden State Salina Kamara poses with her crown during a photoshoot for her page in the National Miss American Coed Pageant program. The National pageant takes place in Florida in November. Naomi Evans | with permission

Miss Golden State Salina Kamara poses with her crown during a photoshoot for her page in the National Miss American Coed Pageant program. The National pageant takes place in Florida in November. Naomi Evans | with permission

“The opportunity to get started in pageants just sort of came up,” Kamara said. “It’s not like I chose between playing soccer or pageants and really thought about it. It was sort of just a thing to try — and now I love it.”

Despite popular belief, not every pageant involves little girls prancing around a stage with too much hairspray and too much make up, according to Kamara. Glitz pageants do involve swimsuit competitions and heavy makeup whereas natural pageants judge on scholarship, service, poise and interview skills.

“Even though I’ve never tried glitz pageants, it’s just not something I’m really interested in because it rarely seems to be the child’s decision to get involved,” Kamara said.

Fatmata Bangura, Kamara’s mother, has been “incredibly supportive” and helpful throughout every pageant Kamara says. Her mother is there for Kamara every step of the way, from evening wear wardrobe decisions to practicing interview questions.

“Salina and I are very close,” Bangura said. “Pageants have really brought us closer together, especially since I travel with her to every event.”

Similar to most of her other extracurricular activities, participating in pageants is a large time commitment for Kamara. She begins to prepare for most of her pageants one to two months beforehand by reviewing interview questions and memorizing her personal introduction — a 30-second speech given before the panel of judges during the evening wear portion of the competition.

“Participating in pageants is like participating in a sport,” Kamara said. “If you want to be good at volleyball you have to do drills; if you want to be good at pageants you have to practice stage presentation and interview questions. It’s definitely not easy.”

The pageant process encourages personal growth, according to Pageant Center, a website promoting pageantry. Successful natural pageant competitors must possess excellent public speaking skills, interview skills, high self esteem and self confidence. It is common for girls to begin their pageant careers lacking some of these traits and to finish with crowns and high self esteem, according to Brian Cournoyer, the State Director for the National American Miss pageants.

“Natural pageants are more about growing as a person and learning life skills,” Cournoyer said. “Pageants give girls poise and confidence they might not have found elsewhere.”

Although pageants promote positive changes within young girls, not everything about the pageant system is perfect. There are sometimes cases of biased judges or pageant directors who have outside relationships with contestants that tilt the scales in their direction according to Kamara.

“I haven’t experienced this personally, but some people say that pageants are unfair in the way they are scored or rigged,” Kamara said. “When the contestants and the directors are close personal friends outside the pageant, then they have a bias and it’s difficult for the rest of us.”

However unfair competitions can get, Kamara’s family support system has been with her every step of the way.

“I have a somewhat large family, and I want to do well when I know that people I love are watching me,” Kamara said.

Kamara’s entire family rallied in Modesto on June 17 to watch her be crowned Miss Golden State 2012. Even after eight years of participating in pageants, Kamara’s heart was pounding while she waited for the judges to call her name.

“It was down to the last three people and then there was this long pause and I knew I had won, but I just had to wait,” Kamara said. “I was so excited and anxious to finally hear them call my name. It was almost surreal.”

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Junior wins state pageant crown