My Pageant Life

JaRaya Carr, Editor

Toddlers and Tiaras, little girls crying, the mist of hairspray, crazy parents chasing their daughter to get them ready, doors being slammed in the background, parent racing to get the crown, watching little girls win big prize like mini cars and fans of money. At Rock Island High School, Emma Widick, a junior, is living her life as a beauty queen. Emma is currently serving as Miss Mississippi Crown’s Outstanding Teen and was former Miss Blackhawk Valley’s Outstanding Teen and Junior Miss Rock Island County Fair.


Emma’s dream started with an idea of wanting to try a pageant in her town of Rock Island. With the inspiration from Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, Emma wanted to try her first pageant. “Savvy Shields, she stayed herself throughout her entire year, and I just love her personality,” said Emma. While being in the Rock Island High School Choir since junior high, Emma uses her talent of singing to win her first title. “My first pageant in 2017 was the start of my absolute love for pageantry and for what I’m able to do,” said Emma. 


Being a pageant queen like Emma takes a lot of work and dedication. Emma had to practice her interview question for on stage interviews. She has to practice her talent, which is singing, and she has to find dresses to prepare to compete in the Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen pageants. “The process started the day after I was crowned. My talent music was picked out and we immediately started working on my wardrobe. It took months of vocal lessons, mock interviews, wardrobe checks, and meetings to get ready for Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen,” explained Emma.


Emma started with her first pageant and she won the title as Rock Island  County Fair Junior Miss in 2017. “I competed for the Junior Miss Title. I felt like I was jumping into the deep end, but I was excited to try something new,” stated Emma. After serving her title as Rock Island County Junior Miss, she wanted to compete to become Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen. Emma’s first Illinois Pageant was her chance to win Miss Blackhawk Valley’s Outstanding Teen. At the pageant, Emma, with her beautiful talent of singing, won the competition and became the new Miss Blackhawk Valley’s Outstanding Teen, and received a scholarship. “I was shocked. I didn’t expect  to win and when I did, I felt so excited and grateful that I got to experience this year,” said Emma. As being the new Miss Blackhawk Valley’s Outstanding Teen, she wanted to share her platforms with everyone. Her platforms are the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Veterans of the Quad Cities. Emma got to perform at local events, like the Festive of Trees during Christmas time, and took donations for local foundations and her platforms, as well. “The most memorable thing is during my year of service was attending the Tim Tebow Night to Shine event, which let us assist in making people with special needs feel like princes and princesses for a night,” stated Emma. 


Sadly, Emma’s year of service as Miss Blackhawk Valley’s Outstanding Teen has ended, but that doesn’t mean that’s going to stop her from becoming Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen. On October 26, 2019, Emma competed and won the Miss Mississippi Crown’s Outstanding Teen pageant. As a new title holder, she will continue with her platforms that are dear to her heart. With preparing to go to Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen, Emma wants to win Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen so she can spread her platforms around Illinois and America. “As Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen, I will be an advocate for veterans’ mental health, along with being the Illinois ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network,” stated Emma.


Hannah Close, a junior at Rock Island High School spent some time helping Emma get ready for her local pageants and her state pageant, Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen. “I helped her with onstage interview questions for Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen,” stated Hannah. By helping Emma compete for pageants, Hannah wanted to share the joy with her friend by being a part to the pageant world; but later on decided not to compete. “At first, I wanted to try a pageant, but now I don’t have no interest for it,” stated Hannah. Getting ready for pageants are lots of practice with people you trust the most.


Emma hopes after high school, she can continue her love for pageants and become Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen, and then later on become Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, then Miss America like her role model, Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017.