When Puyallup High School senior Zoe Brown and her mom, Pamela, arrived in Las Vegas on July 9, they had four suitcases and 22 pairs of shoes between the two of them.
It was all in preparation for the 2017 Regal Majesty International, a four-day “semi-natural” pageant that brings together contestants of all ages from around the country.
Zoe, who won the title of Regal Majesty Washington State Teen at Regal Majesty’s state competition a few months prior, moved on to the national competition.
“It took a good three weeks (to prepare),” Pamela said.
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“I had eight outfits just for the competition,” Zoe said.
And after rehearsals, introductions, interviews, four rounds of theme wear and even an opening number performance with her fellow contestants, Zoe took the title of Regal Majesty International Teen, one of the highest titles awarded in her age group, back to her home in Puyallup.
“I felt blessed,” Zoe said about her title. “They thought I was good enough to represent (Regal Majesty).”
As a baby, Zoe was deaf until she was 4 years old, causing her to develop a speech impediment and undergo speech therapy.
I didn’t really talk a lot in front of crows because I was afraid of (pronouncing) ‘r’ words.
Zoe Brown, Puyallup High School senior
“I didn’t really talk a lot in front of crowds because I was afraid of (pronouncing) ‘r’ words,” Zoe said.
Instead, she became involved in dance classes. It was through dance that she was introduced to pageants. At 9 years old, she started her first one. It was her own decision.
“I was at a dance studio and other girls were doing it,” Zoe said.
“I didn’t want to be one of those moms, but I thought okay, we’ll try this,” Pamela said.
Pamela said she’s watched Zoe become more confident.
“I’ve seen her blossom,” she said. “She has the confidence to go out and speak in front of everyone.”
I’ve seen her blossom. She has the confidence to go out and speak in front of everyone.
Pamela Brown, Zoe’s mother
Now, Zoe’s been in pageants including the All American Girl pageant and the International Junior Miss, where she placed in the top ten in the nation at 14 years old.
In Puyallup, Zoe helps out with local pageants, including Lil Miss Meeker. As a varsity cheer captain at Puyallup High, she’s also involved in cheer camp for younger girls.
“Each pageant I’ve done has been an experience,” she said.
Zoe said she hopes to continue getting more involved in the Puyallup community, and in turn, getting girls more involved in pageants.
“The opportunities that you get through the system you can’t really get anywhere else,” she said.
The opportunities that you get through the system you can’t really get anywhere else.
From interview skills to improved confidence, making friends to making community connections, Zoe credits a lot of her accomplishments to her work in pageants.
With each pageant, Zoe changes her platform because she wants more than one cause to get recognized. She’s spoken about “Love is Respect,” or empowering youth to end dating abuse, about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and about “To Write Love on Her Arms,” which aims to help those struggling with depression, addiction or thoughts of suicide.
Moving forward, Zoe plans to go to college to study business and accounting, but wants to continue doing pageants, and would be more than willing to coach other girls to do the same.
“I want to do Miss USA when I’m older — I know that,” Zoe said. “My dream job would be Miss Universe.”