Sheldon, IA — Brianna Huff, a 19-year-old Sheldon native, returned this week from the National American Miss (NAM) Pageant in Clearwater, Florida, where she placed as the second runner-up for the title of America’s US Junior Miss Hawkeye State Ambassador.
While at the pageant, which took place from July 6th through July 10th, Brianna also received other honors. The girls had the opportunity to write essays about their biggest female, male or sponsor influence in their life. Brianna chose to write about her mother, Lisa Huff, and received the award for Parent of the Year, an honor she bestowed on her mother in recognition of the support that Lisa has shown to her daughter throughout her life. Brianna also came home with the Spirit Award, which is given to the girl who shows the most positive attitude during the competition, not just for what she is doing in her own life, but for the encouragement and support she showed to everyone she came in contact with while at the competition.
Brianna isn’t new to the pageant world. When she was five years old she competed for Little Miss Ashton and came home with that title and then went on to win the Osceola County Fair Queen. After such a positive start she competed again the following year, then took a break from pageants until 2012, when, as a Junior in high school, she became the newest Miss Sheldon. In 2013 she won the title of Miss Iowa Teen USA.
NAM isn’t what you think a typical pageant would be like. Yes, there are trophies, prizes, scholarships and cash awards, but NAM goes beyond that. In fact, only 30% of a girl’s score has anything to do with appearance. According to their site “the majority of the scoring in our pageant is based on communication. Good communication and presentation skills are what we want to recognize and encourage… The judges are giving you scores based on where you are in life, just the way you are.” NAM is also a big promoter of community service, and works closely with Feed My Starving Children and the Wounded Warriors, and a portion of each girl’s score is based on the volunteer work they perform.
Brianna stated that she entered NAM after being encouraged by a friend, who happens to be last year’s winner of the same pageant. She realized once she got past the first couple rounds of elimination that it was going to take a little more help, and so Brianna went around to the local area businesses looking for sponsorship. Among those who helped her along the journey are A Country Florist, Edward Jones/Darrell Burns, KIWA Radio, Iowa Lakes Community College, Iowa Information, Elegance by Sarah Ruhs and many friends and family members. She acknowledges that her success wouldn’t have been possible without their support and is very thankful to all who have helped and encouraged her along the way.
Brianna says that she entered the pageant as a confidence booster; she likes who she is as a person and feels comfortable in her own skin, and she felt she possessed the qualities the pageant looks to promote in young women. She also saw it as an opportunity to do something to show her mother just how much her support and encouragement in all that she’s done over the years has meant to her. Congratulations on your success, Brianna!