Weber State University senior Bailey Johnson competed last week in the statewide Miss Utah Pageant. This was Johnson’s second time competing for Miss Utah, and she was thrilled to make it into the Top 10.
“It became clear when I started working with all these young women that these girls are the cream of the crop,” Co-Executive Chair of the Miss Utah Scholarship Pageant Renita Revil said. “The only thing they win is scholarship money and they can only compete in the pageant if they are currently involved in higher education. They have to be smart.”
Each Miss Utah participant must have a platform, a collection of values she supports and promotes. As a Dance Education major, Johnson’s personal platform is arts and education. Johnson wanted to prove she was unlike most pageant girls.
“I learned that with a crown on your head, people listen to you more when you are trying to promote things. It’s really fun to implement my platform,” said Johnson. “A lot of people think it’s just a swim suit and an evening gown and that it’s all on stage.”
Johnson competed in her first pageant, Miss Teen Syracuse, when she was in junior high. Johnson and one of her close friends just did it for fun.
Johnson’s friend ended up winning Miss Teen Syracuse, but never competed in another pageant. However, Johnson caught the pageant bug and wanted to do it again and again. She then went on to compete in Miss Syracuse and Miss Davis County, eventually winning both of those titles.
“Bailey and her friend just did it for fun. They laughed and said how they were far from pageant girls,” said Johnson’s mother, Michelle. “She continued doing pageants because she realized they were fun.”
Pageants are more than hair extensions and fake eyelashes. Johnson chose to compete in scholarship pageants to help her in her educational pursuits.
Pageant participants are required to go through an interview, do community service, raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network and have a service platform.
Shows like TLC’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” make it easy to assume that every competitor in these pageants is prissy and stuck up. All viewers see are temper tantrums and spray tans.
“I know there are a bunch of stereotypes that go along with being a pageant girl, but you just kind of have to let it slide off your back. If they knew what we were doing, it would be a lot different,” Johnson said. “I’m not a typical pageant girl. One girl I was in Miss Utah with lays foundations and works for a construction company. We all come from different walks of life. We are all different and we just come together.”
“The Miss Utah Pageant fits the culture of our state. We believe in service, we believe in education, we believe in keeping our bodies fit,” Revil said. “This is what Miss Utah is about, and Bailey is the perfect example of what a pageant girl should represent.”