In just her second pageant, Folger McKinsey Elementary School first-grader Sophia Biddle finished in first place in Maryland in her age group at the Miss East Coast USA Beauty Pageant held in Towson, Maryland, on March 24. The state-division winners receive sashes featuring their hometown, making Sophia Miss Severna Park 2019. She will advance to the national competition to be held July 26–28 at the Hilton Hotel in Parsippany, New Jersey.
Sophia’s mother, Hazar Biddle, said initially she wasn’t sure that she wanted her young daughter competing in pageants until she better understood the goals of the organization.
“Sophia first heard about the pageant from a friend,” Hazar said. “This pageant focuses on character and personality. I, too, believe in instilling confidence with the girls rather than focusing solely on beauty.”
Contestants performed two dance routines (Sophia’s dances were tap and jazz), a beauty walk in a gown and a casual walk, all before finally being interviewed by the judges. Contestants had three wardrobe changes: formal, casual and active wear. They also supplied their own outfits. The judges look for stage presence (confidence, poise), character (personality) and photogenic-ness.
“At first, I was a little nervous,” said Sophia, “but it’s fun to meet girls from other states, and being onstage makes me feel good. Everyone sees me, and I feel happy.”
For her interview, Sophia told the judges about her plans to become a veterinarian and spread the word about animal abuse and proper care of animals. She and her mother are reading everything they can about the proper care and treatment of animals and practicing answers to the questions judges might ask her on the topic.
Sophia is a busy 6-year-old. She has been dancing with Creative Force Dance Center in Severna Park for four years; she is a Girl Scout; she enjoys swimming, singing and reading; and she is fluent in Arabic. She hopes to participate in the Severna Park Fourth of July parade to show everyone her Miss Severna Park sash and perfect pageant wave to the crowds.