Former Miss Teen USA continues anti-bullying message
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Region - posted Mon., Sep. 9, 2013
Logan West just recently completed her year as Miss Teen USA. The former Miss Teen Connecticut USA said her year was “a whirlwind.”
“It was more than I could have ever imagined,” she said. “I went into this competition thinking that I could do it, but never honestly believed that I would win. So to have won, and to have had such an amazing year, has been an incredible journey.”
After touring the country and the world, and then crowning her successor in August, West has returned home to Connecticut, coinciding with her family's move to Vernon. She said she is also turning the page of her life to, as she puts it, “be Logan, without a title attached.”
While she was holding that title, as well as previously being Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen in the Miss America system, West has promoted her anti-bullying platform, and she has created her own program which has been adopted by many schools in Connecticut. She is also in the process of founding her own national education foundation, “Unite Against Bullies Today.”
West's latest project is the creation of Connecticut’s USA Extravaganza Pageant 2013, which will help spread the anti-bullying messages and serve to help launch UAB.
She said that a pageant is actually a good vehicle for anti-bullying, because of her experience with both.
“I want to teach people that pageants aren't all about the glitz and glamour, and not catty like people think they are,” she said. “It's a chance to build confidence and stage presence, and to teach young girls how to shine. It's about creating a drama-free environment where everyone feels comfortable on stage.”
West added that her mother, Patricia, is co-directing the pageant, and has set up mini-workshops throughout the day, where both Wests (and other experts) will talk to participants and their parents about their experiences with bullying and ways to prevent it.
“It's not about winning a crown or a title,” West said. “It's about getting up there, and doing it entirely yourself, and about the experience within itself. Confidence is the whole thing.”
West began her platform after being bullied herself. Being multi-racial, West was criticized for not being “black enough” by some peers. She said it was pageants that later gave her the confidence that protected her from further bullying.
“After I was bullied, I totally lost who I was,” she said. “Being in pageants help me find who I was. It was what comes along with it, like interview skills, being on stage, and interacting with people. These are things that aren't just needed for pageants, but needed for life. If you start instilling these things in girls at a younger age, I think they are better off.”
West said she has found that she has an influence on younger people that is often better than that of authority figures.
“When they are being talked at by a teacher or principal about what bullying is, I think students don't really take in the information, but to hear it from someone who has gone through it, and is now wanting to make a difference with it, usually sinks in a little better. I think being closer in age to them has something to do with it, too.”
West will host the pageant, for girls (and boys) of any age, which takes place on Sept. 21 at John C. Daniels School in New Haven.
The pageant is designed as a holistic and fun educational experience, West said, to help girls and boys develop self-confidence, poise, public speaking and interview skills, as well as to develop a sense of fashion, modeling experience, develop special talents, and gain an appreciation for community service.
Contestants will compete in evening attire, swim wear (summer outfit), on-stage question, and judge interviews. Optional events and awards will be given for talent, photogenic, and community service. The educational workshops and pageant rehearsal will be conducted Sept. 20 from 4 to 8 p.m.
For contestant applications and more information, visit ctusaextravaganzapageant.moonfruit.com, or contact pageant directors Patricia West at email@example.com, 860-620-4662, or Patrick Moore at Samoapat@aol.com, 203-645-9657.