Gianna Marie Westlund photo
Gianna Marie Westlund

Teens from across Missouri, their pageant directors and families will travel to the heart of Missouri June 13 to kick off a week filled with rehearsals, talent performances, interviews and evening gowns at Missouri Military Academy.

The Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen class of 2022 includes Miss Texas County’s Outstanding Teen Gianna Marie Westlund. She is the daughter of Cindy Westlund of Houston. She is a student at Houston High School. For the talent portion of the competition, she will sing for the judges and audience. She will also participate in a private interview with the judges, answering their questions and giving her opinions on a variety of teen-based topics as well as showcase her fitness during a special fitness routine. In addition, she will represent her platform, “Be Brave, You’re Beautiful/ Body Image.”

“Body image is something I have suffered with and it is something that is not as recognized as it should be,” she said. “I personally have suffered with an eating disorder and this began in about seventh grade when I began to suffer from a bad body image.  My eating disorder has consumed me and it has made me feel like I was not good enough for anything.”

Her title covers the Houston area. Since she was crowned this winter, she has attended a variety of service projects and appearances throughout the state.  

Alongside Westlund, Riley Barringer, of Reed Springs, will take part in the pageant. She is the daughter of Rob and Rebecca Barringer. Her talent is the vocals of Barbra Streisand’s “The Greatest Star.”

Pageant week will begin with a kick-off brunch on Monday, when the candidates are recognized for their various service projects and achievements. Throughout the week, the teens will participate in a wide variety of activities, ending on Saturday afternoon with a meet and greet, held in downtown Mexico.

The preliminary competition begins Tuesday, June 14, and will continue through Thursday, June 16. The organization will crown the new Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen on Friday night.  After being crowned, the new Miss Missouri’ s Outstanding Teen will immediately begin preparations to compete on the national stage later this summer.   

The Miss Missouri Scholarship Organization is one of the largest providers of scholarships to young women in the state. This year, the organization will award $85,000 in scholarships between the Miss and Outstanding Teen programs.

Tickets for the Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen Pageants as well as tickets for the week’s special events are available through the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 100 W. Jackson St. or by calling 573-581-2765.

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