By: Bella Hunt
Pageants are not very well-known around the district, and to many people’s surprise, we have many pageant girls that go to Jenks. Two girls in particular have shined through their years with pageant life. Beginning in the pageant life isn’t easy, and it takes perseverance and dedication to the glamorous take that it presents.
From being crowned to being a full-time student at Jenks, Bella Flocks (11) shows her dedication to her busy pageant life throughout the years. Flocks have been competing in pageants since she was 5 years old. She started her career in “National American Miss” also known as “NAM, ” which is a local Tulsa pageant. Flocks’ dance coach was the reason she decided to compete in pageants. Her coach had expressed that Flocks would grow through competition.
Pageants can help with development and teach them life skills, especially for younger kids. Flocks showed very positive reactions from her first pageant and that was when her mom had decided that since it was promoting positive effects on her as a whole she was going to continue with pageant life.
“My mom put me in and after she saw the benefits of pageants she decided to keep me in to see where it would go,” says Flocks.
Now Flocks has a minimum of two pageants a year and continues to shine on stage.
“I feel like before, I was never really a shy kid but I had a hard time talking to new people and I’m glad that I was put into it because now I can really talk to anyone and anyone that asks me a question I’m not hesitant to answer,” said Flocks.
Her routine before a pageant consists of making her way to her dance studio every morning or afternoon. She then must run through her modeling routines and dance routines that she has prepared. She currently has an interview coach, Gary Scott, who guides her through the interview questions and helps with preparing for the interview portions of the pageant. Her dance coach Jayme Ward, whom she has been with since she was 3 years old, and her modeling coaches Britanny Zirkle and Mariah Zirkle, who she has been with for 7 years, continue to stick by her side throughout her pageant career to help her be successful.
The system Flocks is currently competing with is “Our Diamond Miss.” She has won many titles through this system and currently holds titles in the “Diamond Girl Division” which consists of “National Miss,” “Elegant Miss,” and “National Sweepstake.” Last year, Flocks gave up her Diamond Miss title.
“Whenever you work really hard and you get let down, that’s whenever you get back up and you work harder. It took me 6 years to win a national title, when you win that national title it is the best feeling” said Flocks.
Flocks has set goals for herself for after high school. She will attend the University of Arkansas and has expressed a desire to compete in the Miss Arkansas pageant to hopefully qualify in the Miss America pageant. She had mentioned that it would be an amazing opportunity and a surreal experience if she won Miss Arkansas.
Pageants have really impacted Flocks in a positive light and we are excited to see her next steps on her path to success.
“It has taught me good life skills a lot of girls that have done pageants fill into interviews and they get scholarships or they get their first job immediately because of how well their interviews skills are and just being able to surround yourself with people that are in completely different situations with you and having to compete against them gives you a different level of clarity on how everyone lives,” said Flocks. “I call my pageant system my family.”
Payton Sullivan, 10, is also very involved in the pageant world. Sullivan started competing when she was just 12 years old and has continued her career ever since. Before that she had competed digitally at the ages of 9 and 10.
“I’ve always wanted to do it since I was little,” said Sullivan.
Her mom was against pageants until one day she decided to put Sullivan in one. Since that day she continues her pageant career as a sophomore at Jenks.
Both of Sullivan’s sisters competed in pageants and her older sister had competed in Miss Florida Teen USA. Sullivan ended up competing with her. One of the things you need to have for pageant life’s coaches. You can have many different coaches for interviewing and modeling.
“A big thing is having a pageant coach, a lot of girls don’t have one but it’s kind of like doing a sport without a team,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan has prep interviews where she practices interviews for pageants. She also has modeling practice where she practices with her coach. Currently Sullivan has been preparing for a more serious pageant and that was why she just started with a new coach. During pageant week she practices with her coach for two hours a day online. Her current coach lives in Florida.
She has done Princess America which appoints a title. This means you must request one to be able to qualify for one and submit a form that helps them get to know you better. Many girls are a part of these digital pageants and they even may interview girls over zoom. This was where she got her title of “Miss Oklahoma Jr. Teen” back in 2020 and now she currently holds the title of “Miss South Tulsa Teen USA”. She competed in “Miss Oklahoma Teen” where she placed in the top 10.
Sullivan’s system currently has platforms. Sullivan’s platform is based on bullying, and her service hours include her going to the Jenks elementary schools and reading to the kids.
“I’ve been to two Jenks Elementary schools and I’ve talked to three classes about bullying and why it’s harmful, I read them a book, I’ve started this recently for the last pageant I had and I became really passionate about it,” said Sullivan.
Both of these talented girls will continue to lead by example when it comes to the Pageant Industry. Only good things will come for Flocks and Sullivan and we can’t wait to watch it unfold. If you are thinking about competing in pageants or want to learn more information on them visit the Diamond Miss website and Princess of America website.