Fifteen-year-old Shelby Smith will travel to Dallas, TX on June 25 for the Cinderella Teen International Scholarship Pageant.
The Hernando High School Student said she fell in love with pageants when she was very young.
“I started pageants around the age of four, and I really liked the environment and the people I met,” Smith said.
Shelby’s mother, Samantha Smith, said she wanted to find something Shelby enjoyed and pageants were perfect.
“At that age, we were putting her in everything to see what she was into,” Samantha said. “We realized pretty soon that she just loved to compete.”
Shelby also spent several years pursuing theater. Samantha said that while exploring theater, she wanted to take a break from pageants.
“Theater became more important to her, so we took a break from pageants for a few years,” Samantha said.
Shelby said that in order to excel at theater, she needed to gain more musical skill.
“When I was five, I started taking theater classes,” Shelby said. “My voice wasn’t where I wanted it to be to get the parts I wanted, so I started taking voice lessons with Bob Westbrook and fell in love with music.”
COVID-19 challenged Shelby to find places to perform, and Samantha said this caused them to look back into pageants.
“When COVID hit and there wasn’t anywhere for her to perform, we looked for some way to get her back on stage,” Samantha said.
Samantha said this challenge was when they realized that Shelby could do all of her favorite things through pageants.
“We realized we were looking for something that she could do everything with, and pageants were just that,” Samantha said. “She is able to form relationships, friendships, interview skills, learn how to present herself, and tone her talent.”
Shelby advanced to win at the Teen Division Overall pageant, which awarded her the state title, and qualified her for the international pageant in Dallas. Samantha said competition preparation is very time consuming.
“We definitely focus a lot on talent, but there’s so much more that goes into it,” Samantha said. “It takes a lot of planning and preparation. We have to make sure we have all of the outfits we need, prepare her speech, and work on talent.”
If Shelby wins the Cinderella Teen International Scholarship Pageant, she will win a scholarship of $4,000. Samantha said this will most likely go into an educational fund for Shelby.
“She ultimately wants to pursue music, but we would probably put the money away for her and use it for education,” Samantha said.
The Cinderella International Scholarship Pageant is the final level of the Cinderella pageant system which highlights higher education for women by awarding scholarships to winners of its pageants
Shelby will compete in several different categories including evening wear, casual wear, talent, and interview. The pageant will begin on July 25th. Shelby said she is excited to compete and thankful for her mother helping her throughout the process.
“I’m so excited to compete,” Shelby said. “I couldn’t do it without my mom. She’s wonderful, and she’s been with me every step of the way. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Shelby hopes to one day pursue a career in music, and she said her current favorite kind of music genre to sing is hip-hop and R&B.
“I do sing a pretty big range of things, but right now I would have to say my favorite is hip hop and R&B,” Shelby said. “I like music that’s emotional and I would say that R&B lets me sing with emotion.”