This is my 9th feature on this year’s Miss Nebraska contestants, and I feel like with every profile I write and the pictures I post, I think, ‘WOW, this girl is just BEAUTIFUL!’ It’s hard to imagine a time in any of their lives when they were picked on, targeted, or felt sadness because of someone else’s words against them.
Not the case.
In so many of these interviews, these women have revealed moments in their past in which they were bullied for a variety of reasons. Kids can be cruel; even more so in today’s age of social media, when it’s so very easy to tweet or post something mean about someone behind the shield of the internet.
This young lady is taking on the bullies, and showing everyone who feels alone that THIS is who you can become.
Miss State Fair, Aleah Peters
THAT SMILE. From the moment I met Aleah, that has been something that is always there, in every picture, in every moment she’s on stage, and whenever you are around her in person. THAT SMILE. Little did I know before our interview, it hasn’t always been there.
“When I was in high school I was bullied by a group of girls,” said Aleah in a recent interview. “I feared going to school, attending sporting events or even answering my phone. Since then I have realized that this is a problem that has affected, or will affect, everyone. Whether a person experiences being the victim, the bully, or a bystander, it is important that we stand up for change.”
Aleah is taking her message, dubbed ‘Stand for the Silent, Anti-Bullying’ to kids across the state of Nebraska.
“I have learned so much from each person I have met throughout my year,” said Aleah. “This position allows me to be a role model to kids of all ages and a contributing member in my community. Wearing a crown and sash gives me credibility and the chance to make a difference.”
Aleah is also raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, Miss America’s community partner. She recently organized the ‘Miss Valentine’ pageant, drawing more than 40 little girls. Each child was treated to hair and makeup pampering, then participated in an opening number dance, modeling and an interview. Every girl was recognized for something she did well in; the event raised more than $2,000 for the charity.
“The girls had a wonderful time!” said Aleah. “The event was a huge success!”
DRIVEN, EXUBERANT, COMPASSIONATE
“I genuinely care for the people around me,” said Aleah. “I always try to make somebody’s day a little bit brighter.”
Those qualities helped Aleah finish as 1st runner-up in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen competition in 2010. After graduating from Millard South High School, she decided to compete for Miss Nebraska. While she says she enjoys all areas of the competition, Interview is her favorite.
“This part of the competition allows me to show the judges who I really am past all of the glamorous gowns, fit bodies and flashy talent,” said Aleah. “Interview sets each individual apart from each other because we are all so different.”
Aleah also has plenty of practice for the Talent portion of the competition; she works at Sue’s Stepperettes in Omaha, where she has twirled baton for years along with fellow contestants Miss River City Rachel Foehlinger and Miss Metro Kim Brennan. See if you can spot Aleah in KETV’s story on Sue’s Stepperettes when they celebrated 40 years in May of 2013.
As for Lifestyle and Fitness, or swimsuit competition, Aleah believes it should remain part of the Miss America system.
“The goal of the organization is to help women become the best version of themselves in all areas of their life including fitness,” said Aleah. “This area of competition has helped me develop self-confidence and realize the importance of living a healthy life.”
In Aleah’s case.. healthy AND happy. Did I mention her awesome smile?
I can’t help but hope those girls who were mean to her so many years ago see this post, or see Aleah’s picture and achievements, and someday teach their kids to be kinder than they were. If I WERE Aleah, I’d be dancing in my bedroom, singing to Toby Keith’s ‘How Do You Like Me Now?’ at the top of my lungs.
I’m guessing Aleah doesn’t do that. She doesn’t need to, when she can make little girls smile just like her.
Connect with Miss State Fair, Aleah Peters
The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska. For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.