PUBLISHED: 1:50 PM on Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Juneau girl shines at national pageant

Photo by Abby LaForce
  Charlotte Brown, pageant winner, cuddles with her kitty, Lucky
Her smile is brighter, and it's for a good reason. Charlotte Brown, 12, competed in the National American Coed Pageant, which took place Nov. 21-26, at the Hilton Resort in Florida. She placed 17th for the 2006 Miss National American Coed Preteen Queen title.

"It feels really exiting to win," she said.

She competed with 300 other girls between the ages of 11 and 12.

Getting to the national pageant was a hard-earned journey for Charlotte. In June she placed in the Miss Alaska American Coed Pageant in Anchorage, which granted her an invitation to the national competition. Charlotte and her father and coach, Jason Brown, held fund-raisers and did door-to-door donation requests to get Charlotte even closer to her goal.

"I really went there to have fun and get a little more experience with the pageant," Charlotte said.

Additionally, she was awarded the title for Miss National Spirit and Miss National Personality in her preteen category. She received a sparkling crown and banner for the Personality award.

Each girl got to vote for one person who they thought had the most personality, Jason said.

"The judges said it was an overwhelming vote, and that's pretty good coming from teenage girls because they don't like to vote for each other - there was a lot of competition," he said.

"We were sitting there and they said 'Charlotte Brown' and I was like . . . what, that's me!" Charlotte said.

She is carrying what the pageant means and giving inspiration to other girls by being up on the stage and doing what she's doing, Brown said.

"She wanted to show other girls that are handicapped that no matter what their goals are they can achieve it," he said.

More so, they hold the motto that young women should represent themselves for who they are.

Brown said the national pageant is different than other beauty pageants; American Coed wants to show it's not about the glitz and glamour but it's more about their personality and interview skills.

He said it's supposed to be about the "true" American Coed girl.

For instance, they made the rule that the divisions of Princess, Sweetheart and Preteen are not allowed to wear make-up, he said.

Charlotte said to prepare for the pageant she had to work on interview skills and pick a gown and an interview suit.

At the pageant, she did rehearsals twice everyday for two hours with the other participants. She made a lot of friends and will have acquaintances for the next pageant.

Charlotte sang, "Blue," by Leann Rimes at the pageant, and said she wasn't nervous.

They also performed a "Sock Hop" dance routine to a high school musical on stage, and wore poodle skirts.

Charlotte said she was the only one up there in a wheelchair, and it didn't matter.

Concerning the pageant ""wow" gown, it was red covered in black beads with a puffy skirt.

Another event she participated in was a scrapbook competition. Her scrapbook placed top third in Charlotte's category.

The scrapbook, covered in rabbit fur with an Alaska license plate on the back, reflects love, hard work and thought.

A joint project, Charlotte did all the cutting, pasting and picking out of the pictures.

"The scrapbook explains who she is," Jason said..

One inscription reads, "No matter what trial you're going through in your life, no matter how bad it seems, kids always bounce back and always improve to be the best they can be."

Charlotte will be keeping busy the next few months preparing for the state competition in June, which takes place in Anchorage. Brown said he's hired a coach, who specializes in interview skills to work with Charlotte as well as a voice coach.

Other community activities she will participate in are Toastmasters and Juneau Arts & Humanities 7th annual Wearable Art Extravaganza.

"So many people have helped Charlotte get to nationals and so many business, there are many people I want to thank; it would take up about two pages," Jason said.

He said as soon as the snow melts they will be out there again, letting people know she's getting ready for another competition.