Brenda Smith-Lezama, a.k.a Miss Missouri Teen USA, is busy preparing for the Miss Teen USA pageant happening this Saturday, August 10th. Taking place at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas, Brenda and 50 other contestants representing all of the states plus the District of Columbia will compete for the coveted Miss Teen USA crown.
Celebrity Teen Scoop had the chance to chat with Brenda about how she’s getting ready for the Miss Teen USA Competition, how she got her start in beauty pageants, and her role as a contributor for Seventeen.com. The beauty queen also shared an amazing memory from one of her many trips around the world!
CTS: How are you preparing for the Miss Teen USA Pageant?
Brenda: “My directors have done an amazing job of giving me all of the tools I need to prepare for nationals. I have awesome modeling, hair, fitness, and makeup sponsors that coached me, but, for me, the most important piece of the preparation puzzle is getting in the right mindset. I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t enter Miss Teen USA happy with where I’m at emotionally, physically, and mentally. It took a little while to get there, but I can honestly say that I’m so proud of the ‘me’ that I’m taking on that stage.”
CTS: How did you get your start in beauty competitions?
Brenda: “My high school held a scholarship pageant every year. I kind of got pushed into entering my freshman year, but I’m so happy that I did. I got on that stage shy and scared out of my mind, but I ended up winning that year and every year after. That’s when I decided to take it to the next step and try my luck at Miss Teen USA.”
CTS: What is your favorite part about competing in beauty pageants?
Brenda: “I love the adrenaline rush that I get every time I step on stage. It’s awesome to feel absolutely amazing…you feel like you could take over the world! I firmly believe that pageants are what helped me find out who I am and who I want to be.”
CTS: You are currently working on a Bachelor in Journalism. What do you hope to do with your journalistic training?
Brenda: “Long-term, I definitely hope to work in radio and television. After I graduate from the University of Missouri, I plan on joining the US Air Force as a Broadcast Journalism Specialist. Who says a girl can’t trade her pageant heels for combat boots?!”
CTS: You are currently a contributor for Seventeen.com. What are your favorite topics to write about?
Brenda: “Working as a contributor for Seventeen.com has been a dream come true! My favorite piece was a video blog I did about my journey to the Miss Missouri Teen USA crown. It wasn’t necessarily the content, but the feedback I got that made it my favorite. I talked about the sacrifices I had to make. Because I went to high school in Georgia, I had to have a semester of college complete and six months of residency in order to qualify to compete in Missouri. That meant that I had to miss out on things like receiving my diploma, walking at graduation, and spending my summer at the beach with my high school friends. It was so worth it though, and I wouldn’t change my decision if I had the chance. I think it let readers see a really different side of me.”
CTS: You have been able to travel the world because your mom is a flight attendant. Where have been some of your favorite places? Do you have any special memories from your travels that you would like to share?
Brenda: “I have been on too many amazing trips to pick just one favorite, but one of my most memorable recent trips was to Dubai! From the moment I stepped out of the plane into the ‘modest’ 90 degree heat, I experienced the stark contrast from the winter wonderland I left back home in the states. I immersed myself in the clothing, food, and culture that I had only ever read about.
My cousin and I chose to celebrate Christmas Eve by going on a desert safari. We jumped in a Land Rover and held on tight as an experienced driver drove us on a roller coaster comprised of sand dunes! After witnessing the most magical sunset on the back of a camel, we ended the night in a desert oasis. The sounds of Middle Eastern music, the smell of smoked meats, and the sight of brightly colored fabrics and belly dancers set the mood. I had never felt more immersed in a foreign culture in my entire life.”
CTS: Besides traveling, what else do you like doing in your free time?
Brenda: “I don’t typically have a lot of free time, but something I love to do is paint. Every time I paint, I feel like I enter my own little sanctuary. If I am ever upset or stressed, you can bet I’ll find something to paint. When I was much younger, my parents moved us back to my hometown because of my dad’s job. I was so upset that for a while the only thing I would do is lie in bed and watch interior design shows. That’s where it all started. I painted my room over five times in the first few years since the move. I painted canvases for a while, but now I’ve moved on to personalizing everything from coolers to shoes. I feel like I have my own little world in my craft box!”
CTS: What is the first thing you plan to do if you win the Miss Teen USA title?
Brenda: “Without question, the first thing I would do is call my family, friends, sorority sisters, teachers, and everyone who has supported me. Because of the cost of traveling, my mom is the only one of my supporters (besides my directors and pageant family) who will be able to travel to the Bahamas with me. However, I will have so much support from people who will watch the webcast from all over the country and the world! I have always had very big ambitions, and I really try to remember every person who has helped me achieve them. Whether it is through kind words of encouragement or a monetary gift, every little bit of support means the world to me, and I would love to share my success with those who stood behind me every step of the way.”
The 2013 Miss Teen USA Competition will be streamed live from the Atlantis, Paradise Island Saturday, August 10th at 8 p.m. EST on www.missteenusa.com. Fans can vote for their favorite contestant and help her earn a spot in the semifinals through the Miss Teen USA Fan Vote presented by Lisa B. Collection. Fans can vote online at www.missteenusa.com or through the Miss Teen USA “vote” icon on Facebook.