Endless Opportunities

When I became Miss New Jersey Teen America my opportunities were endless. My inspiration to help others continued as I proudly represented my state. I took my confidence and made a winning speech to become President of my freshman class. Along with my state title and presidency, I joined Casey caregivers, a club that gives back to people in need. Visiting the children at K. Hovnanian Hospital and giving them Halloween treats and gifts was priceless. Their smiles warmed my heart.

Volunteering at the Make a Wish Foundation & Susan G. Komen walks.

Speaking at the American Heart Association as a heart disease survivor is always an honor. I also continue to read to kids about anti-bullying in their classrooms. Helping at food pantries to help our senior citizens in my community has also proven to be rewarding. This is just the Beginning of my journey. Moving forward I have big plans to continue to spread love, kindness, and respect as your Miss New Jersey Teen America 2019.

Making a difference one day at a time,

Kayla Ogno 

The Singing Queen


When I first became your Miss Massachusetts Teen America I thought long and hard about how I could use this platform to help and inspire others. I am a volunteer by nature and have received a United States Presidential Award for over 100 hours of community service within one school year.  While I love doing service for others, singing is my other love.   I’ve been singing since I was 4 years old, when my Nana taught me my first song "Summertime."  As a state queen, I decided to combine my two loves by performing monthly acts of service where I sing to support a worthy cause.  I have been hard at work volunteering my voice to support my platform to help veterans and children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  I train constantly and use my voice as my gift to others to bring joy and spread kindness throughout my great State.  I haven't stopped since I got my crown and sash.  So far, my favorite service activity was the Boston Children's Hospital where I gave a mini Disney princess concert and sang songs from some of my favorite Disney movies.  The kids were great, their parents were grateful, and it felt so good to help. 

I've been singing the National Anthem at various events to support our Nation and honor our heroes. I have a family full of first responders and when I'm singing the national anthem I think of the sacrifices they make daily.  I'm also working with my local Marines to do a Toys for Tots Drive to make Christmas the best it can be for some families who need help. I plan to release a new song and video just in time for the Christmas season called, "Hurry Up Santa."  Part of the proceeds I receive from the songs sale will go to support Christmas for them.  I will be appearing on a local television station to talk about my work as Miss Massachusetts Teen America 2019.   I  hope that my 12 months of service will help bring a smile or some cheer to those in need. 

Your Miss Massachusetts Teen America 2019,



Just One Pair

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By: Audrey Burri, Miss Tar Heel State Teen America & Founder of Pair Necessities, Inc

We’ve all heard stories about people who have lucky socks. It’s the one pair that they always wear while playing sports or taking a test. Why? Because the socks have special powers to ensure the wearer gets the outcome they want—winning the game or acing a test. Some even carry this belief to its extreme by wearing dirty, smelly socks, believing that “not washing them” is what keeps them lucky. Even crazier, some people feel the same about having lucky underwear...but, let’s not go there!
Hearing about these superstitions usually leaves you shaking your head or laughing about these (kinda gross) peculiarities.

But, what if that were you, and you wore that same pair of socks or underwear all the time, not for good luck, but because it was the only pair you actually owned? The potential of losing a game or failing a test pales in comparison to this demoralizing reality that many homeless and low-income adults and children live with on a daily basis.

Socks and underwear are something that we all take for granted until we stop a minute to imagine what it might be like to own just one or two pairs of each of these basic items. Think about how many pairs of socks or underwear you own right now. Can you imagine the reality of having only one pair of socks or underwear? Can you imagine being a school child and having to wear the same pair of socks and underwear every day because your parents were having to make the tough choice between spending money on food or shelter instead of basic clothing items? The reality is that these basic necessities that most of us take for granted, are luxuries to many in our communities.

I first became aware of this issue, and how widespread the need was when I helped fulfill Christmas “wish lists” for elementary students at a local school. Along with the expected wishes for new toys and sports equipment, many of the children listed requests for socks and underwear. At first, I thought this was something that the teacher or the agency organizing the Christmas stocking drive had suggested to the children (kind of like your grandmother suggesting an orange in your stocking). But, when I asked, I found out this was no joke. These kids were choosing to list socks and underwear because they had so few pairs of their own. Sadly, these items that most of us have drawers full of, or casually leave at the soccer field, were something that they longed for in the same way most kids spend all year dreaming of new bikes or dolls. Having new socks and underwear was one of their most desired presents. Can you imagine? This was especially a shock considering that most young children would be disappointed to receive socks and underwear for Christmas - but not these kids.

The sad reality of how little some children have compared to most people stuck with me long after the holidays passed. Not too much later, I began work on my Girl Scout Gold Award project, which challenges scouts to find solutions to real issues people are facing. I remembered those Christmas wish lists and, as part of my project, began investigating the extent of the problem. After months of research, rather than learning that the kids who made those lists were a unique group, I found that they were just one segment of a much larger population for which these basic items are actually luxuries. In speaking to agencies in my community, I learned that socks and underwear are the number one items requested at homeless shelters, but they are the least donated. Because these are items that must be new, socks and underwear don’t usually make it into the donation bins when people are clearing out their old clothing. However, the homeless critically need these items not only for warmth in the winter but, more importantly, to aid in good hygiene and maintain health.

In addition to those experiencing homelessness, I learned that there were real needs for these items among veterans, the mentally ill, victims of crime (or other hospitalized people), victims of trafficking, and a very large and diverse population of children, families and/or individuals characterized as “working poor.” In fact, places like schools and emergency rooms, have special closets or storage bins where they keep socks and underwear to hand out to those in need. And, guess what? There are never enough donations to keep everyone’s stock high and it's something these places always need. I knew that I had found a real problem that I needed to take action to change!

As a lifelong Girl Scout, I know that even one person can make a monumental difference in the world if they choose to help. The same philosophy applied to socks and underwear—one pair can change everything. Out of this idea, my nonprofit, Pair Necessities, was created. My group works to provide socks and underwear to those in need. In the first 6 months, Pair Necessities collected more than 2000 pairs of socks and underwear for homeless men, women, and children, other children in need, Emergency Room patients, families affected by human trafficking, and many more. Since Pair Necessities was formed, it has expanded to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Pair Necessities continues to grow in its original community, with the goal of expanding to fulfill needs of the country by providing these basic necessities to all. One person can make an impact even with something as small as a pair of socks or underwear. Just one pair can make all the difference in the lives of so many.

A Brave New World: New Title, New State, New Age Division

By: Maggie Leach

The past year has been a whirlwind for me. I moved from Minnesota to Iowa.  I started a new school, I made all new friends, I joined a new pageant system, and I aged up to the Teen Division. At first, I was terrified, but looking back on it now I can say that it changed my life for the better. I have had so many great experiences in just the first nine months living in Iowa.

I started competing in pageants at age seven, and have loved them ever since. I had always heard about the Miss Teen America system through friends of ours, and through social media. I knew that when I was old enough I wanted to compete in this system. When I found out that Miss Teen America was moving into the “One Queen, One Dream” idea,  I was overjoyed to be old enough to compete. My dream is now a reality, and I am representing Iowa at nationals! I can’t wait to meet all of the other amazing teens!

When I received my Teen America crown and sash, I was so excited! I walked around the house in them for at least an hour, and was dreaming about the adventures I would come across while enjoying my title. So far, I have been able to do some fun and exciting things. I was able to drive up to my Great-Great-Great Grandparent’s Century and Heritage Farm in Fredricksburg, Iowa and snap some unique crown and banner photos.   I visited the final destination of 1950’s Teen Rock-and-Roll Stars, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens in Clear Lake, Iowa, and I was also able to speak, and volunteer at Megan’s Miracle Makers trivia night and fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation at the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.

Being the child of a teacher, my parents have a rule that my titleholder experiences must be educational.  When school gets out on May 31st you can count on many new Iowa adventures on my social media page.  My family and I are very excited to explore the Hawkeye State and share the great places we visit with you all.      Proudly exploring new horizons, I am your 2018 Miss Iowa Teen America, Maggie Leach.

My Thanksgiving Holiday

“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey

     Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  To me, it’s about all my family members coming together and being thankful for one another.  Our family tradition, is gathering and enjoying each other company.  We catch up on everyone’s busy lives and we enjoy delicious turkey, stuffing and so much more.  Each of us has to say what we are thankful for.  

    My favorite food on Thanksgiving……. I would have to definitely say, the delicious turkey and stuffing! 

    Lastly, I am thankful for so many things. To say a few, I am thankful for my supportive family, they have been by my side through thick and thin and I appreciate everything they do for me. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to experience many wonderful and new things that has come my way. I am also thankful for my amazing directors Ms. Nikki, Ms. Jess and all the MTA staff! Thank you for the unforgettable opportunities I have been given.  Also, to all my pageant sponsors below. Thank you so much for providing an awesome prize package and supporting Miss Teen America.  You’ve all have been the best, and I can’t thank you enough! Thanks to everyone else that I may have missed. I am so blessed and thankful for the love and generosity you all had given me!  

Mahalo everyone and I hope you enjoyed your amazing turkey day!! Eat as much as you can over the holidays!


RSVP To The Sherri Hill Party

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If you are a registered 2018 Miss Teen America Contestant or if you are interested in competing at Nationals 2018, we would love to see you at Sherri Hill's Headquarters in Austin, Texas, January 26-28, 2018.



One-on-One Appointments with designer, Sherri Hill, to create your Gown or Fun Fashion.
Information from MTA Executive Director, Nikki Clark.
Unveiling of the 2018 MTA, Sherri Hill, Opening Number Dress.
Appointments with Bill Alverson (Interview Coaching) and Lu Sierra (Runway Coaching).
Words from Keith Pittman, owner of Lasting Impressions Formal Wear , and Jessica Toussaint , MTA Director of Brand Management.
Photos with Kathy Whittaker Photography.
A VIP Reception.


Friday - January 26, 2018:

6:00 pm Celebration Party
Enjoy a celebration party hosted by none other than SHERRI HILL herself. Photo ops await you as you join Sherri Hill, the MTA staff and sponsors for the perfect photo opportunity. No evening would be complete without a few laughs as you meet fellow Miss Teen America contestants and snack on the sweetest finger foods.

Saturday - January 27, 2018:

Unveiling of the 2018 Sherri Hill Opening Number Dress
Saturday awaits you as Nikki Clark, Miss Teen America Executive Director, showcases the 2018 opening number dress and provides talking points on how to compete at this year’s national pageant. You never know what other pointers she might provide during this retreat. The morning continues with comments from Keith Pittman, owner of Lasting Impressions Formal Wear; Bill Alverson, interview coach; and Lu Sierra, walking coach. Make sure you book your personal sessions with Bill and Lu. They book quickly! Much like Friday, Saturday (and Sunday) continues with personal appointments with designer SHERRI HILL and Keith Pittman. The SHERRI HILL headquarters will be the host of your appointments where you can try on the most beautiful gowns in the world and work to customize your perfect dream dress, fun fashion, or both! Leave the SHERRI HILL showroom feeling prepared and ready to take on the National stage in July.

Sunday - January 28, 2018

MTA Drawing (Winner must be present)
On Sunday we will conclude with personal appointments with Bill, Lu and Sherri Hill. If you have last minute questions for Nikki Clark, here is the perfect time to get the answers you need! We wrap up the evening as we all travel home and continue to prepare as the National Pageant quickly approaches!

To book your appointment call 706-596-2003 or 334-687-6871 today!!!

My Mediterranean Cruise

A couple weeks ago, I started my travels headed to a 7-day Italy/Greece Cruise.  It was truly an experience of a lifetime!  It was also many “first” for me, first time traveling to a different country and my first ever cruise.  Getting to Italy was quite the task, especially for me because I am coming all the way from Hawaii!  My first trip started with flying from Hawaii to Austin, then to New York and finally to the first stop of Milan, Italy.  Early the next morning we started our journey by train to Venice, Italy where we spent some time shopping before boarding our cruise ship.  

I absolutely had an amazing time learning about the different cultures, seeing different ancient places and eating the delicious crepes and gelato every country I visited! It was a travel experience I will never forget.


I spent half the day in the beautiful city of Milan where I ate delicious pasta and of course GELATO!  I visited the famous Milan cathedral, Duomo di Milano, which I fell in love with! 


In Venice, I got to experience a Gondola Ride! I was so impressed with all the different water taxis. I loved how people live right on the water and they use their boats to get around. This is so different since I’m used to using a car to get from place to place.  I learned that many people don’t live on the first floor of the apartment buildings because when it’s high tide the water gets into their apartment! Although it was a gloomy day, I enjoyed great food, shopping, and admiring the different buildings.


Finally, after boarding the cruise ship in Venice, our first port was Athens, Greece. We had a fabulous tour of the Acropolis of Athens.  The historic ruins and view was just beautiful!  I have never seen anything like it!  An interesting fact I learned about the city of Athens is that there are many stray dogs that just roam around everywhere. I wondered why I kept seeing random dogs all over the place.  They were all so cute and I wish I could have taken them home! 


The second destination was amazing. We went to Argostoli, it was so pretty that I wished I lived there! The houses were so colorful, and the lake was so beautiful. My mom and I went on a bicycle boat together in the lake. I saw three big turtles and I just couldn’t believe how close they were to us. Of course I did some shopping and bought these nice Greek sandals and a beautiful dress that I had fell in love with.  It reminded me of a Greek goddess.

Our third destination was Kotor, Montenegro. It was a really historic and unique port to see.  I walked in the Old Town of Kotor and hiked the City Walls of Kotor. Before ending my time ashore, I went to check out a nearby beach of the Adriatic sea.


My last destination was Split, Croatia. This was my favorite port I visited.  I did a lot of shopping and I also had a delicious crepe! We went on a bike tour and learned a lot of history about Croatia. I remember seeing many churches and old buildings, it really made me interested in learning about each one. They had so many vendors on the side of the street selling handmade things, unique and old antique items as well. I bought a sponge from the Adriatic Sea that is used for showering, but I’m definitely going to be saving that as a souvenir.

I was sad for the cruise to end!  I really enjoyed every bit of it and I wish I could stay a little bit longer, but of course I had to get back to school. I am just so thankful for amazing directors, Nikki and Jess.  They are just wonderful!  I am speechless and I can’t explain how thankful I am for this unforgettable experience. Not only did I get an all expense paid trip to Italy/Greece, but they really made this trip really enjoyable and fun! I will never forget this fabulous experience and all the fun adventures.  Mahalo Ms. Nikki and Ms. Jess!

What She Wore!

Take a look at what Ciana wore when she took home the crown of Miss Teen America 2017!

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For her Fitness Wear, Ciana picked bright colors that complimented her skin tone. She chose a one shoulder sports bra in a neon yellow with shoes to match and  paired them with vibrant, printed shorts.

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Fitness Wear Tip: Pick a color or colors that look great on you, and don't be afraid of prints. We all love a little bling here and there, but having bling on your fitness wear is completely optional.  Be sure that your fitness wear actually fits! When choosing your sports bra, pick a style that flatters your body type. 

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For Fashion Competition, Ciana looked stunning in royal blue. The detailing at the waistline and flowy chiffon skirt was a true show stopper!

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Fashion Tip: Be sure that your fashion selection is teen appropriate and reflects YOUR sense of style. Choose a style that is complementary to your body type and a color that looks amazing with your hair color and skin tone. High-lows are not the "end all, be all" of the Fashion Competition. Do not limit yourself to this. For example, if you find a cocktail dress that you love, go with it!  

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For Onstage Interview, Ciana wore an aqua bandage dress, with peplum detail and mimicking flair at the skirt hem. The neckline provided a classic and timeless look to a trendy, fashion-forward dress. 

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Interview Attire Tip: Pick an outfit in which you feel comfortable. You want all your energy to be able to go to wooing the judges. You don't want to be in a dress that you cannot breath in or one you have to tug at to prevent it from rising after walking. As always, picking the proper style for your body type, a color that complements you, and having a great fit is key here. 

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Ciana looked amazing in her canary yellow, mermaid gown complete with rhinestone embellishments and a thin, halter neckline. 

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Evening Gown Tip: Make sure that your dress is floor length. This means your dress sits just at the floor and sweeps across. It should not drag the floor or need to be lifted for you to walk forward. Your shoes should not be visible once you are at a stand still. When getting your dress fitted, don't forget to wear the shoes that you plan to wear when competing. Evening gown is your chance to showcase your poise and elegance. Fit and style is of great importance. And remember, your favorite color may not be the color that looks best on you. 

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We are now accepting applications for Nationals 2018! We would love to have you join us in San Antonio, Texas this summer. For more information, sign up to receive our Newsletters or send us an email at info@missteenamerica.com and we'll send you information on how you can get started.

Photo Credit: Photographic Vision