Teen ready to rock in American Miss contest

By on August 21, 2009

Elburn youth will compete in local pageant
by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—Ashley Taylor of Elburn wants to act when she grows up, and she already has performed in two school theatrical productions. Next weekend, the 12-year-old will take the stage again, as a contestant in the National American Miss Pageant Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5-6 at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.

The state-level contest winner will receive $1,000 and a trip to Hollywood and Disneyland, and go on to compete in the national pageant. Although Ashley finds those prizes enticing, what really interested her was the contest’s opportunity to practice poise in front of an audience, a must for any actor, she said.

Unlike other pageants, contestants do not model swimsuits or wear make-up, although the competition does feature a formalwear category. Its main focus is on personality and presentation, which appeals to Ashley.

“I like that it is not just about what is on the outside but what is on the inside, which is what really matters,” Ashley said. “It’s about being confident and knowing you are a valuable person.”

Other contest categories are a personal introduction and an interview.

Ashley also chose to take part in an optional category, acting. She will deliver several lines of a commercial for Target teen wear, starting, “Girls, are you ready to rock?”

Ashley already has raised the $440 in pledges required to participate in the pageant, from sponsors including local businesses Harry Krausbe DDS, Bob Jass Chevrolet, Party Animals, J & R Herra, Papa G’s, the Shipping Place, and Xsport fitness, and family members, said her mother, Maria Taylor.

Now, Ashley is looking for a full-length gown to wear, one that expresses her personality but is not too expensive, she said.

During the next two weeks, she also will be polishing her commercial segment lines and responses to interview questions such as, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She already knows the answer to that question.

“I’ve always wanted to be an actress,” said Ashley, who was in the cast of “Oklahoma” and “Much Ado About Coconuts” at Kaneland Middle School.