Miss Teen USA Report
July 27, 2012
DAY NUMBER ONE IN PARADISE:
Our National Championship of Teenage Pageantry is underway in the exotic location of Atlantis in the Bahamas. The delegates checked into their rooms on Tuesday night and registered Wednesday morning, the official kickoff to the pageant weekend. They hit the ground running as it was immediately time to put on the swimsuits and enjoy the water with a first ever paddleboat competition. After a session amongst the waterpark, slides and lazy river it was into the ballroom for rehearsals the rest of the day.
Our Miss Florida Teen USA 2012 Sydney Martinez is having a blast as her family joined her for a vacation prior to joining the festivities. Wednesday night was the Opening Dinner and Reception amongst the aquarium like Great Hall of Waters. It was a gated delegate and family dinner that also had contestant introductions and a rousing rendition of the “Bunny Hop” by several of the delegates.
The evening wasn’t over as it was a girl’s only night at the teen disco then time to get some rest for another hectic day on Thursday. We are on the island and will upload pix to our www.Flickr.com/MissFloridaUSA site as well as our traditional daily postings from the Island concluding on Monday.
OFFICIAL BAHAMAS PHOTOS
Miss Mississippi Teen USA 2012, Jessica Makayla Carter, prepares for the the Miss Teen USA Competition July 28, 2012 from Atlantis,
Paradise Island in the Bahamas /
Miss Michigan Teen USA 2012, Courtney Pizzimenti / Miss Iowa Teen USA 2012, Carissa Becker
Miss Texas Teen USA 2012, Madison Lee /Miss Florida Teen USA 2012, Sydney Martinez
PADDLE BOARD RACES:
Miss Florida Teen USA 2012, Sydney Martinez, competes in the West Surfing Paddleboard Race at ATLANTIS, Paradise Island,
Bahamas on Wednesday /Miss Arkansas Teen USA 2012, Amber Mitchell
Miss Virginia Teen USA 2012, Elizabeth Coakley / Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2012, Logan West; and Miss District Of Columbia Teen USA 2012, Sierra Moriah
Hadley; prepare to compete in the West Surfing Paddleboard Race
Miss District Of Columbia Teen USA 2012, Sierra Moriah Hadley; Miss Connecticut Teen USA 2012, Logan West; Miss Florida
Teen USA 2012, Sydney Martinez; Miss Colorado Teen USA 2012, Jacqueline Zuccherino; Miss Idaho Teen USA 2012, Kimberly Layne;
and Miss Georgia Teen USA 2012, Courtney Lynne Smits; pose for a photo in their West Surfing gear
OPENING NIGHT DINNER AND RECEPTION:
Miss Martinez with her roommate Miss Zuccherino / Miss Martinez during the final group shot of the evening
Group shot before the delegate dinner
Final cast shot of the evening
Florida and New Mexico with their very proud moms
GETTING TO KNOW: MISS NEW MEXICO TEEN USA
LAS CRUCES — Miss New Mexico Teen USA Jacqueline Cai is prepared to represent her state next weekend in the Bahamas while competing for the title of Miss Teen USA. "My goal is to bring New Mexico the recognition it deserves," said Cai, a 17-year-old Mesilla Valley Christian Schools graduate. "We have so much to offer; so much culture."
Cai, who considered her younger self shy and withdrawn, said she always admired the confidence, poise and values that pageant girls exuded. Uneasy about her multiracial background, Cai, an Asian-American, said she had trouble feeling accepted in school. "I was always bullied and was never sure of myself. I felt like I never really fit in," Cai said. "Then I realized that looking different doesn't make you inferior you should be judged by your character, not by how you look."
After this revelation, Cai decided to put her fears aside and break out of her shell. "I wanted to do (the pageant) and be that girl that I've always looked up to. I've always had a lot to say, but was too scared to say it," Cai said.
Cai is the second Las Crucen to represent New Mexico this year in the Miss Universe pageants, following in the footsteps of her friend Jessica Martin, a New Mexico State University grad who competed in June for the title of Miss USA.
"We call each other sisters. We're really close in that sense; she's like my little sister," Martin said of Cai. "I just want to say, first of all, I'm so proud of her there's so many people behind her that are supporting her. Whether or not she comes back a winner, she's still a winner in our eyes."
Like Martin, Cai is also a relative newcomer to the pageant scene. Having no prior experience with the Miss Universe Organization, she submitted her application for the Miss New Mexico Teen USA competition on a whim a week before the deadline.
"It was surreal to me when I stepped on that stage. The part of me that always wanted to come out finally came out. I was living the dream I was scared to act upon," Cai said. On a platform of anti-bullying and an advocate for the importance of education, Cai won the title of Miss New Mexico Teen USA 2012.
To promote her campaign, Cai has traveled to different schools in the region, promoting bullying awareness and stressing the importance of education. She has visited Conlee Elementary and Chaparral Middle School, and spoken with elementary students at her high school alma mater.
"She's a National Leadership Award recipient, for both 2011 and 2012, by the United States Achievement Academy. She's reached to more people in the community, in regards to her passions in anti bullying and stressing the importance of higher education," Betty Cai, Jacqueline Cai's mother, said. "I trust Jackie will make New Mexico very proud."
Cai was captain of her high school golf team and a varsity cheerleader, has had rigorous dance training and has taken piano lessons since the age of 3. She has performed piano recitals at various senior homes throughout the community and teaches piano lessons to blind children with the assistance of her piano teacher.
Despite her involvement in extracurricular activities, Cai places a priority on her education. In the fall, she plans to attend the University of New Mexico where she was one of 28 students accepted into the competitive Combined BA/MD Degree Program — an eight-year program that guarantees a spot at UNM's School of Medicine.
After her journey through the preliminary pageant, Cai remains set on her original goal as she heads into the Miss Teen USA competition on Monday. The competition is July 28 at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
"Now, I want to be that girl that can inspire, encourage and empower the youth across the nation. I want to be that girl that I looked up to and be that stronger voice," Cai said. "You don't have to have a sash and crown to have that voice, but having a title like that allows you to present your message to a larger audience and gives you a louder voice."