Friday, December 25, 2015

PageantLIVE's Red Carpet Award of the Week goes to National American Miss Pre-Teen Shayla Montgomery

National American Miss Pre-Teen
by Shayla Montgomery
I am a fun, intelligent and super friendly 13 year old. I live in Portland, Oregon with my parents, Chris & Sheila and our two dogs. I love to go to church and play volleyball. My goal is to make a difference in our world by ending bullying and spreading my message to "Be Brave and Be Yourself"!
Around February of 2014, I received a postcard in the mail, it was an invitation to an open call for National American Miss. I remember my dad saying, "Shay, do you want to try pageants?" I wasn't interested. A few weeks later, my dad said "Shay they are having the open call this weekend for the pageant do you want to check it out?" I said sure. I remember my mom being totally against me getting involved, however, she went with me and my dad to the open call. I received a letter in the mail from my state director, Matt Leverton inviting me to the state competition. I didn't take it seriously and did not prepare for my very first pageant. I
had fun. I loved meeting girls and doing casual wear. I placed in photogenic and casual wear and was in the top 10. I was so upset that I didn't win. I know crazy for it being my first pageant and me not practicing. I said I would never do pageants again as we drove home. My parents told me that they were super proud of me and I remember my dad saying to me what do you expect you didn't take it seriously and you didn't practice. The next day I told my dad I am going to go back next year and win. I loved everything about NAM. I loved the staff and I loved the girls that I had build relationships with during the weekend. My dad went crazy and signed me up for several pageants to give me practice. All I could think about was getting back to National American Miss.
Over the next year, I practiced with my dad a lot. Some days I would get frustrated with him because I didn't want to practice. He would remind me of my goal and I would do what he was asking me to do. My dad found another person who could also coach me Netty McKenzie. I worked hard over the year. I won the High Point Queen at my very next pageant which was Regal Majesty. I then went on to another pageant system and not understanding how you compete at Nationals went up an age division to Jr Teen and won state! We thought if we won at state and I turned 13 that I would have to compete at Nationals as a junior teen so my dad wanted me to compete with girls in the next age division. We met Andrea Walters there and I had a few coaching sessions with her. I lived, ate and slept pageants the past year. I worked with all three coaches my dad, Chris Montgomery, Netty and Andrea. Right before state we purchased another dress and I love that the owner, Aaron of Simply Grand by Aaron Michaels says to me "you won state in a David's Bridal gown". Which is true. I laugh at that now. We didn't know anything about pageants let alone where to buy a dress.
My hard work paid off and I remember when I was on stage and they were calling the runner ups and it got down to who they were going to call to be the queen and seeing some amazing girls still standing out of the top 10 and thinking either I got the same place as I did last year which was top 10 or I am about to be queen. When they called my name as the Miss Oregon Pre-Teen tears filled my eyes. I was so excited to represent my state.
My mom obviously came to love NAM. She loved that they had an emphasis on volunteering, that there was not a swimsuit competition and that they believe girls need to dress age appropriately including no makeup in my division. She also loved that I was being able to express myself individually and developing my speaking. I went from being a shy girl last year into a girl who is confident and able to talk to anyone this year.
Winning state I knew I would be going to Nationals and my goal was to win nationals. NAM was all I talked about. I watched Bralyns video of being queen every night before I went to bed. I stopped playing volleyball so I could focus on NAM. Life revolved around volunteering and practicing for nationals. I spent countless hours practicing with my dad. In September, we found Greg Solomon and I began having interview coaching online every week. It was so tiring to be asked question after question after question for an hour straight. There were days I would say do I have to do interviewing today and would be reminded of my goal and gladly I would face-time my coach. Thankfully, I was able to work with Andrea the month before going to Nationals too as she helped me fine tune what I had wrote for my introduction and my spokes-model.
Arriving at Nationals I was excited. I did not feel anxious. I felt I was prepared. I just wanted to have fun and build life long friendships with girls from around the United States. I had a lot of fun touring Hollywood, going to Disneyland, spending Thanksgiving with my family and participating in casual wear and spokes-model as well.
I will never forget the moment I looked on the wall to see who made top 5 in optionals. When I saw my name listed for Spokes-model tears filled my eyes and I fell to the ground. My speech was a personal story in which I was very vulnerable. We were not sure if it was going to be age appropriate for NAM yet I made the decision that I wanted to share for nothing else than to possibly help another girl. We re-competed and then when they called out the runner ups and then said my name as the National Spokes-model I was elated.
The life long memory didn't end there. I continued bonding with some amazing girls and then it came to our finale. I was sad that the week was ending. I had a lot of fun doing our opening numbers. Top 10 was called and I was excited when they called my name. Next they called out the top 5. I began to cry. I was in shock and walking around crying with such joy. I was ecstatic that out of all the girls in our country I was in the top 5. I will never forget the next moments. It was down to Miss Nebraska and me. I reached to hug her and then we held hands. When they called first runner up Nebraska. All I could do was thank God. I held on tight to my crown (my crown fell at state and I didn't want it to happen again) as I walked around thanking the judges and looking out at all of my family who came to watch me from Oregon and all around California.

There have been many who have been against "pageants" and often times it is due to a lack of understanding and thinking it is like toddlers and tiaras. I love to get to explain to them what pageants are all about and that a part of my score comes from volunteer service and then the rest is from my interview score, formal wear and personal introduction. These are core skills that we all need to be successful in life whether it is public speaking or interviewing for a school or a job.
Being queen to me is more than just a crown and a sash to sit upon my shelf. Being queen means that I am a role model to other girls and I am a servant shed my light and love to my community. I strongly feel that if you bring a smile to others or help those in need that you are also bettering your own life. My favorite quote is kind words are short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless by Mother Theresa.
I plan to help spread the message of Continue to Find Kindness across the country to Stop the mean girl phenomenon and revolutionize kindness! Not only is this personally important to me as I was once a victim of bullying it also goes along with my career goal to become a psychologist for children!
You may contact Shayla for appearances at:
And follow her reign at :

PageantLIVE's Note:
National American Miss is rated the #1 Pageant System in the United States.  Find out more information at:
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