Two years ago, Hayley Hood set a goal for herself.
“I wanted a crown,” Hayley said.
Through hard work and dedication to her goal, the T.A. Dugger Junior High School student has won her crown, as well as a year’s worth of official responsibilities and duties as the 2013 Miss Pre-Teen United States.
It’s been a little more than a month since Hayley Hood was crowned Miss Pre-Teen United States at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., but the Elizabethton girl is settling into a unique role bestowed on her for the next 12 months.
She has her own Facebook account set up by the social media manager for the national office of Miss Pre-Teen United States. She also has her own website at LittleMissUnitedStates.org.
Hayley and her parents, Scott and Deanna Hood, have been busy learning the details of what it means to reign as Miss Pre-Teen United States.
Among the first things they did was review a three-page contract with the Miss Pre-Teen United States organization.
Hayley will make official appearances over the next year, which will include attending fashion shows and participating in photo shoots.
The Miss United States Organization also has a partnership with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, so Hayley will also make appearances in connection with the ACS and Relay.
Although Hayley has worked toward this goal for two years, Hayley’s mother said that they really had no idea of everything it would entail.
After Hayley started competing in pageants, she won 15 pageants in the course of two years. Some of her titles include Little Miss Watauga Valley, Little Miss Piney Flats, Miss Pre-Teen Northeast Tennessee United States, Dixie Crown Beauty Supreme and Miss Tri-Cities Sweetheart High Point Queen.
She was crowned Miss Pre-Teen Tennessee United States May 18 at the Country Tonight Theatre in Pigeon Forge. That victory led to her participation last month in the national pageant in Washington D.C., where she competed in the categories of Introduction, On Stage Interview, Sportswear Modeling and Formal Wear.
Contestants from all over the country got the chance to take part in the Fourth of July Capitol Hill Parade, a patriotic runway fashion show and Longbridge Park events that include contestants on stage introductions and a fireworks display.
Hayley said she will always treasure the memories of her participation in the pageant and its related events and activities.
Hosting her pageant were Miss United States 2012 Whitney Miller and Miss Pre-Teen United States 2012 Taylor Tarquin.
Kasey Jo Trbovich, the coordinator for the Pre-Teen Pageant, later praised Hayley’s performance in the pageant.
“Hayley is a perfect representation of the Miss Pre-Teen United States Pageant,” Trbovich said. “She has such a sparkling personality and kind heart that draws you to her.”
She added that Hayley is also one of the most polite and well-mannered children she has ever met.
“She will represent Tennessee and Miss Pre-Teen United States very well,” Trbovich concluded.
Trbovich was not the first person to find herself charmed by Hayley’s Tennessee accent.
“Her adorable accent puts a smile on your face,” Trbovich said.
This is only the second year the pageant for girls 12 and under has been held. Girls from as far as Hawaii, Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona participated.
The Miss Pre-Teen United States is a non-glitz pageant and focuses on the promotion of beauty, fitness and personality.
“Everyone said how Hayley’s personality shone through,” her mother said.
Trbovich also spoke of Hayley’s personality.
“Hayley is true to who she is and where she comes from,” Trbovich said. “She is beautiful from the inside out, and we are so proud to have her as the 2013 Miss Pre-Teen United States.”
Hayley’s parents get nervous during the competitions, but Hayley stays calm and laid back.
“I don’t get nervous,” she said. “I just get excited.”
Throughout the competition for Miss Pre-Teen United States, she kept telling herself that even if she didn’t win, she would still be Miss Pre-Teen Tennessee United States.
Still, she showed some emotion after her triumph.
“I cried with joy after the pageant,” Hayley said. Her parents cried with her.
Hayley recalled her feelings immediately after being crowned in a crowning statement that she composed for her website.
“I will never forget how I felt during the crowning ceremony,” Hayley wrote. “The excitement built as runner-ups were announced. The next thing I remember was Miss United States 2012 Whitney Miller calling out, ‘Your new Miss Pre-Teen United States is Tennessee!’ I cannot begin to explain how I felt looking into the audience and seeing my mom and dad, grandparents and director Stephi Williams so excited for me. Especially my dad — I could hear him cheering as the crown was placed on my head. I am so proud to be your new Pre-Teen United States 2013.”
Her education in how to conduct herself as Miss Pre-Teen United States began only moments after she was crowned when Christopher W. Wilmer, the national director for the Miss United States organization, pulled Hayley aside to adjust her sash and crown.
“He showed me how to wear the sash so my hair doesn’t cover it,” Hayley said.
He also escorted her to the front row when she attended some other pageants, including the Junior Teen Miss Pageant.
Soon after she won her crown, Hayley was whisked into a complimentary hair and makeup session.
She also took part in a professional photo shoot, which she said she enjoyed.
She served as a VIP guest at a fashion show, and she will appear in an upcoming issue of the magazine Beauty Pageant News.
“She was treated like royalty after she won,” her mother said.
Although her family was rooting for her, they had no idea she had a shot at winning.
“She was one of the smallest contestants,” her mother said.
Of the 200 girls who participated in pageants during the week, only six won titles.
After her victory, Hayley received texts, messages and calls from former teachers, friends, relatives and other well-wishers.
“I just want to thank my family, friends and everyone who believed in me,” she said. “I also want to give special thanks to Dynasty Gowns for the gorgeous white dress I wore.”
In addition to the crown and sash, Hayley received a silver plate, official stationery, a plaque, an official Miss Pre-Teen United States T-shirt and a $200 gift certificate for a new dress.
“I also received a goodie bag loaded with bracelets, earrings and other jewelry,” she said.
She also received a cell phone charm shaped like a crown.
As well as receiving prizes and gifts, Hayley took along some presents to distribute to her fellow contestants. The pageant instructed each girl to bring some items for a gift swap that represented their home states.
For her gifts, Hayley acquired postcards featuring Elizabethton’s Covered Bridge. She used ribbons to attach bracelets acquired at Jacklyn’s Hallmark in Elizabeton to each postcard.
In turn, she received a lei from the Hawaiian contestant and a keychain that could moo from the Wisconsin contestant.
The contestant from Florida distributed jars of sand and seashells to represent the Sunshine State while the girl from Pennsylvania offered Hershey’s kisses from the famous chocolate factory in her home state.
“I’ve put them all in a keepsake box,” Hayley said.
Hayley has many amazing opportunities since winning, including meeting Jonathan Kayne of “Project Runway” fame. Kayne served as Master of Ceremonies for one of the pageants.
“I got my photo made with him,” Hayley said.
Hayley is a Watts Showcase Dancer and a member of First Baptist Church. She attends T.A. Dugger Junior High School.
Her grandparents are Leon and Nancy Hood, Ted and Carolyn Colbaugh and the late Gerald Pierce.
She welcomes a show of hometown support as she undertakes her year as Miss Pre-Teen United States 2013.
“Please visit my Facebook page and like it,” Hayley said, adding that the page will be a good way to keep track of her activities as Miss Pre-Teen United States 2013 throughout the upcoming year.