10-year-old pageant queen from Apple Valley seeks National American Miss title – VVdailypress.com

10-year-old pageant queen from Apple Valley seeks National American Miss title – VVdailypress.com

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With a zest for life, academics and sports, 10-year-old Stella Chavez considers her past pageant victories, “a lot of fun.”

After winning the California Junior Pre-Teen Pageant in June, Stella has moved on to compete later this month in the National American Miss Pageant in Florida.

“I’m super excited about competing and, if I win, it’ll be an amazing feeling and I’ll probably cry,” said Stella, a fifth grader at Sitting Bull Academy in Apple Valley. “But if I don’t win, I’m going to be very happy for the girl that does win, and I will appreciate the opportunity to be there.” 

Stella will share the competition spotlight with 38 pre-teen queens from other states. That number is down from the traditional 51, mainly due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, her mother, Christin Chavez, told the Daily Press.

Organizers of the annual week-long competition that begins Nov. 21 originally scheduled it to play out in California, but they moved the event to Florida due to state-mandated event restrictions.

But that change means a road trip for the Chavez family. Christin and Eddie Chavez will drive Stella and 7-year-old son, Noah, nearly 2,400 miles to Orlando for the pageant — and a visit to Walt Disney World.

“This will be our first big family trip since the start of the pandemic,” Christin Chavez said. “We’ve been to the beach, but that’s about it.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced pageant organizers to make several other changes, too. Participants must submit to daily temperature checks, wear masks off stage, practice social distancing and use hand sanitizer, among other restrictions, according to National American Miss officials.

The Florida pageant will be Stella’s third competition since she was 5 years old. At that time, she competed in the California National American Miss Pageant in Palm Springs. She also took home the crown at last summer’s state pageant.

“When I was 5 years old, a teacher sent a recommendation letter suggesting that I should compete,” Stella said. “She recommended me because of my academics, personality and ability to relate to my peers at such a young age.”

Stella said the only thing she remembers about the Palms Springs competition was singing “A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” from the 1950 Walt Disney film “Cinderella.”

Apple Valley native and California Junior Pre-Teen Queen Stella Chavez,10, will compete this month in the National American Miss Pageant in Florida.

Christin Chavez said she enjoys the National American Miss pageant system because of its focus on the required areas.

While the competitions are glamorous events, organizers say they are not typical “beauty” pageants. Contestants are scored based on personality, confidence and communication. 

“Braces, glasses, skin problems, varying heights, weights and appearances, are all a part of creating the special and unique individual that you are and that we want to celebrate,” the National American Miss website states. 

Christin Chavez said pageant organizers don’t allow girls to wear makeup during pageants until they are older. “This not about beauty,” she said. 

Stella, meanwhile, attributed the five-year gap between pageant competitions to her busy schedule, which has included playing soccer with the Apple Valley Storm Soccer Club and taking dance instruction at the Talent Planet. 

She also participates with the kid’s worship team at High Desert Church, is part of the Christian Club at school and is taking after school enrichment classes.

Recently, the young queen’s duties have included community service projects in Los Angeles and Orange counties, such as serving meals to the needy and picking up trash. 

Each Miss California Junior Pre-Teen must choose a platform for study and advocacy. Stella chose mental health.

“We all have to be educated on mental health and illness,” she said. “I think educating my generation at a younger age would help us to understand some of the battles that people with mental illness take on, and maybe people wouldn’t be so afraid if they experience mental illness.”

Stella plans to meet with her school counselor to create a Youth Mental Health Awareness Program to help educate her peers and to give them support. 

“Right now a lot of people are alone, and I want to be there for them,” said Stella, whose favorite courses are science and language arts.

If she wins the national title, she expects her schedule to be filled with photo shoots, sponsorships, travel opportunities and other duties. 

Stella said she’s grateful for the support of her friends, parents and family, including her grandparents, Mary Flowers and Kellie and Ralph Chavez.

“Participating in pageants is exciting and a lot of fun to do,” she said. “I can’t wait until we leave for Florida.”

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.

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