Teen To Represent Rim Country In Pageant

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Autumn Staszak didn't want to wake up someday with regrets.

The 19-year-old self-described "tomboy" decided that she'd do something a bit uncharacteristic and apply to be in a beauty pageant.

After answering questions and sending in photographs of herself, her quest to try something new was fulfilled--she was accepted as a contestant in the Miss Arizona U.S.A. Pageant.

"I just didn't want to get old and say, ‘I should've done a pageant,'" she said.

The pageant festivities will take place at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on October 19-21. The winner of the pageant will go on to represent the state of Arizona in the Miss U.S.A. Pageant.

The next preparative steps for the pretty teen include finding the perfect evening gown--most likely "blue to bring out (her) eyes"-- a swimsuit and working on her public speaking.

She is also attending a pageant information session over the weekend in Phoenix, since she is new to the pageant scene.

"I haven't been in a pageant so I don't know what to expect," she said with a laugh. "I think I'll have to wing it."

Autumn filled in her mother, Dawn Staszak, after she had been accepted as a contestant.

"I was surprised," Dawn said. "I never thought she'd want to be in a pageant. She's pretty, but most of the girls are kind of prissy and she's not that way."

Dawn said that she thinks her daughter will do well in the competition.

"Her personality is going to shine through. She has that. It's going to be a great experience for her," Dawn said.

Autumn said that her main goal for the pageant is to earn a scholarship so that she can complete her elementary education degree at Northern Arizona University.

"Maybe I can get a scholarship out of it and go to NAU," she said. "I'd love to travel if I became Miss U.S.A. and do volunteer work."

Watching beauty pageants with her grandmother when she was little may have sparked her interest, Autumn admitted. Some of her friends have also participated in pageants, as well.

"I'm here in Payson and I want to go in a different direction," she said.

Autumn is paying for the nearly thousand-dollar pageant fee via sponsorships and donations. Anyone interested in helping her out can e-mail her at volleyball09_auty@yahoo.com.

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