This afternoon, I was honored to be interviewed by one of Westside’s incredible high school students, Emily Kutler, who is writing an essay on the sexualization of women in the media. We discussed my experiences working in broadcast news, my observations of national media.. and almost naturally, my time with the Miss Nebraska Organization surfaced. I explained to Emily how my hope lies within our titleholders and the women they inspire… that the key to ‘girl power’ is to do what we love. To be confident. To do good and share good in our world. And if you feel good wearing lipstick and high heels while you dominate life, then so be it 🙂
There’s always more to the story, the ‘behind the scenes’ element that isn’t always shared. The 34 women competing for two state titles this year aren’t just girls slapping on makeup and waving in parades, they are role models and leaders driven by 34 compelling stories. For a teenager out west, her journey and mission include a medical diagnosis she refers to as the forgotten disability.
Miss Fur Trade Days’ Outstanding Teen 2017 Cherokee Purviance
“I have Dyslexia and I know what it means to have it,” Cherokee told me recently. “I know what accommodations need to be made and I know the benefits of it as well.”
Cherokee shared her personal story with me in 2015 and last year; as both Miss Northwest’s Outstanding Teen and Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen, she worked to spread awareness about Dyslexia and to support children and teens facing the same diagnosis. That mission continued this year when she won the title of Miss Fur Trade Days’ Outstanding Teen.
“I love my time as a local titleholder building up to state!” said Cherokee. “All of the girls are so kind and fun to be around. These are the girls everyone loves. So why wouldn’t I love them just as much?”
The character of the young women who compete is what initially drew Cherokee to Miss Nebraska in the first place. She grew up idolizing the contestants who competed every summer and served all year long, and knew when she was eligible, she wanted to be just like them. The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organization provided Cherokee that opportunity.
Cherokee has visited schools, childrens’ groups and charity events, in addition to her studies at Alliance High School. The 17-year old is an accomplished pianist and performer, winning the recent Alliance Stars of Tomorrow competition’s Overall Star of Stars Award and a $1000 cash scholarship.
The ‘Miss Fur Trade Days’ OT’ title has not only offered Cherokee more opportunities to perform, but experiences to hone in on communications and networking skills.
“I’ve become more well-spoken, made some great friends and developed a greater love for serving my community,” said Cherokee.
Get to know a ‘pageant girl’ like Cherokee.. and you’ll meet a young woman with goals, willing to work hard to make those dreams happen. Throughout this journey, Dyslexia hasn’t been a curse Cherokee has tried to hide from. Rather, she shares her story and advice for others, like how the Orton-Gillingham reading program benefited her. This self described initiator, a devoted and methodical young woman, has a plan and vision that extends beyond a diagnosis. She may be a ‘beauty queen’, but she, like all of her pageant sisters in the Class of 2017, are proving what that title really means.
These are people you want to know.. they are the women who are changing the world.
“Whether or not I win the state pageant, I want to be remembered for changing the way people view Dyslexia,” said Cherokee. “It isn’t just an excuse. You can’t cure it. You have to deal with it.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CHEROKEE?
For more information about the Miss Chadron/Miss Northwest/Miss Fur Trade Days’ Outstanding Teen Program or for information about becoming a contestant, CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook. You can also email Director Amanda Vogel by emailing email@example.com or calling 308-665-5595.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place April 21-22 in Omaha, Nebraska.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2014-2016 click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!