In some ways, Courtney Smith is your typical high school senior. She babysits to make extra money. She plans to attend college after graduating from in June.
Courtney also takes dance classes – hip-hop, ballet and jazz – and a modeling/acting class. She also teaches a dance class. Maybe a bit less typical, but certainly not unheard of among high school students.
Then there’s that whole state finalist in the Miss Pennsylvania Teen Pageant thing. Yep, that’s probably one of the things that makes Courtney a bit different.
Courtney says she first got involved with the world of pageants when she was 12 years old, when her dance teacher, Miss Katie, who had been a model, thought she would be good at it. “She trained and encouraged me,” says Courtney. “She also did my hair and make-up. My parents were always supportive of my modeling and always told me I could stop any time if I wasn’t having fun. As it turned out, I really enjoy it.”
It seems that Courtney is also pretty good at it, having competed in about two competitions a year for the past five years and having won a number of awards along the way. Some of her recent accomplishments include winning Grand Champion Model of the Year for 2010 in January 2011, receiving a 4-inch trophy, sash, tiara, plaque and a savings bond. In May 2011, she took 3rd place in solo T.V. and loungewear. In June 2011, she was 1st in formal, swim and casual, plus a tiara and sash as Miss Talent Olympics. In November 2011, she was 1st in sports and solo T.V.
Courtney, who plans to continue competing in pageants after high school as long as it doesn’t interfere with her college education, says that the thing that has most surprised her about the world of pageants is the number of girls who compete. “In the state pageant, there were 130 girls in my age group,” she explains.
It might be surprising to some that Courtney says that the biggest lesson she has learned from competing in pageants is public speaking.
Courtney’s advice to other young women looking to get into pageant competition? “To be yourself, don’t let others' opinions hold you back,” she says.