Eleven-year-old Kylie Neal wants to be an actress or a model when she grows up.
She will get a small taste of her dream when she competes in the Miss Michigan Pageant in the pre-teen division for the National American Miss Pageant July 26 through July 28 in Dearborn. It will be her first beauty pageant.
"I'm not afraid to show who I am or what I can accomplish," Kylie said about why she decided to pursue the pageant.
Kylie, sixth-grade student at and cheerleader in the Brighton Junior Football League, was chosen as a state finalist after completing the initial interview process.
Participants must be nominated by someone in their community - a teacher, neighbor or friend, according to Kylie's mom, Angelique Neal.
Kylie was nominated by an anonymous person to participate in the pageant - something Neal was leery about.
"I was skeptical at first, but I have been impressed with them," Neal said about the pageant. "This one I was actually willing to do because it's not like other pageants. It's more about confidence and public speaking. There's no swimsuits or make-up and making your 11-year-old look like she's 20."
The National American Miss pageant promotes the importance of developing self-confidence, learning good sportsmanship and acheiving personal goals. Participants are judged by public speaking, interview skills, poise, presentation and community service.
The winner of the pre-teen division at the Miss Michigan pageant will represent the State of Michigan in the National American Miss Pageant, which will be held in California in November. Winners will receive cash, scholarships and other prizes.
Kylie has been preparing for the pageant by studying previous pageants and practicing interviewing on her own at home. She said her favorite part has been finding her formal gown - a cream colored dress with gold sparkles and black lace.
Kylie said she's not nervous about the competition, just excited, although learning to walk in high heels is a struggle.