BARSTOW • One year after competing in the Barstow Pageant for the first time, 2011 Teen Miss Barstow, Juliet Manzanares says that competing in the event has changed her.
For one thing, the 14-year-old no longer considers herself a tomboy and has stopped playing soccer because she wants to become more involved in the community. She competed in the Barstow Pageant last year in the Teen Division for the first time just to "try something different". Manzanares won First Princess in the Teen division last year and decided to compete again to see if she could win the Teen Miss crown this year.
"I kind of got the pageant bug and wanted to see if I could do better," said Manzanares.
Barstow Pageant director Kris Watson said although Manzanares is relatively new to pageants, she feels Manzanares will be an excellent Teen Miss Barstow.
"She came by it naturally," said Watson, who added that girls who compete in the Barstow Pageant know that they will have to do a lot of community service. "Juliet had a taste of it last year as First Princess. I think she's going to be a fantastic addition."
Manzanares said one of the best parts about the pageant was the community service aspect and said she is looking forward to working on different events at the Barstow Boys and Girls Club with 2011 Miss Barstow Anne-Shirley Harpole. She used to attend the club when she was in sixth grade and wants to set a good example for the children who now attend the club.
"They helped me with my homework and I learned to type there," said Manzanares.
Manzanares has already participated in some community events through her role as Teen Miss Barstow, including one of her favorites — Holiday Meals.
"I love it," said Manzanares. "It's humbling to put together meals for the less fortunate."
Manzanares said the pageant has already helped improve her speaking skills, which is important for her career ambitions to become a motivational speaker. She plans to attend college in order to receive a degree in communications.
Manzanares encourages other young girls to run for the Barstow Pageant.
"I would like to tell girls to take a risk and run for Miss Barstow or Teen Miss Barstow," said Manzanares. "You'll be surprised at how much you learn."