As my mom has always told me, the symbol for Laos is the three headed elephant which symbolizes that God sees everything. So in my case, 3rd times the charm. I competed in my first pageant ever in 2012 and placed 4th runner-up to the Queen. In 2013, I placed in top 10. And finally, I won the title in 2014 as your Miss Iowa Jr. Pre-Teen Queen. That’s when I shifted gears and began my journey.
As I put the gear in drive, I donated money and joined the MS Walk to support Mica Wills, my mom’s best friend, who was recently diagnosed with this horrible disease. A couple days after that, I donated books and supplies to ChildServe. Kaylene Steele, volunteer coordinator, gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to the staff and kids. Seeing all those smiley faces melted my heart. Next up, the most memorable moment was seeing all my sister queens and cover girls for the first time for our photoshoot! That was such an amazing, fun-filled day. Thanks to Ana Leigh Photography, who is my sister queen Abi’s sister, for taking the time to do our shoot. As I cruise on to the next event, I donated money and walked to find a cure for the Heart Walk. Best of all, I learned how to perform CPR on a dummy and take pictures with Fred Hoiberg, ISU basketball coach. As I’m still cruising along, I finally got to meet our governor, Terry Branstad, in person- in his office- and even shake his hand!
Zooming to my next event, my sister queens and I volunteered to help pack food at Meals from the Heartland. It breaks my heart to know that 1 in 6 Americans face hunger daily. But my heart feels fabulous knowing I changed the world to save the starving by packing 12,800 meals! Placing the gear in neutral as I take part in our Iowa State Fair Parade with my queens and cover girls. Although it was a cold and rainy day, we still managed to decorate and keep going. We took turns giving our speech throughout the parade. As Walt Disney once quoted, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Making another stop at The Children and Families of Iowa on Christmas Eve to pack and load boxes of Christmas gifts to families in need. Seeing the happy tears in people’s eyes as they picked up their gifts made me realize that people do struggle in life and how little things mean a LOT to people in the world.
As I set the gear in park and arrive in sunny California…..Nationals! Ahhh, sunny California! Reunited with all my Iowa sisters and cover girls. It feels so gooood! I spotted my state director, Mrs. Ewing, and had to take a selfie. Then another selfie with Steve Mayes. I even tried to get him to do duck lips, but that wasn’t happening. I enjoyed the day at Disneyland with my family and friends. I even had a blast shopping and walking down Hollywood Boulevard. Then we cruised on down to Santa Monica beach. Perfect day to relax and spend time with my NAM girls. As Nationals came to an end, all my hard work and dedication paid off, I placed 4th runner-up to the National Queen! My journey doesn't end here as I shift my gear back to drive. To this day, I still continue to serve my community, volunteer my time, and keep things rolling for the future…
Special thanks to the founders, Steve and Kathleen Mayes- Such an A-Mayes-ing program to help girls like me build self-confidence, poise, leadership, and public speaking. To my state directors- You guys rock, thank you for helping me throughout my year. Especially Mrs. Breanne Ewing, we take good selfies together. Mom, Dad- Big hugs to you for guiding me through my journey. I wouldn't be the girl I am today without you guys. Thanks for the opportunity in helping me DREAM BIG! To my brother, Kayto- Thanks for your encouragement and believing in me. And to my baby sister, Jayda- Thanks for practicing with me and being my little shadow. I know you will be the next Iowa Princess. To my sister queens and cover girls- You ladies will always have a special place in my heart. My heart beats for all of YOU!
Best wishes to all the Jr. Pre-Teen contestants. Be true to yourself and you will have an amazing time!
To my successor- Hang on tight, time flies, take tons of pics, make the most of it, and enjoy the ride! One more thing, cherish every moment. Every moment is a Kodak moment!
I am your 2014 Miss Iowa Jr. Pre-Teen Queen
Mya Leilanni Chup