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JBLM kid to compete in local beauty pageant

Fourth-grader will represent military in state competition

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On a whim last fall, 9-year old MacKenzie Booth googled beauty pageants on the Internet and found one in Tacoma.

She entered her name.

"I was so happy when I passed auditions," MacKenzie said, "that I screamed and jumped for joy."

On Aug. 9-12, she will be represent Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the pre-teen category at the National American Miss (NAM) Washington State pageant held at Hotel Murano in Tacoma. If she wins, she will represent the state at the NAM finals in California in the fall.

"This will be so much fun," said MacKenzie, who wants to be an actress when she grows up. "I like the talent show and will be singing a Taylor Swift song. I haven't decided which song yet, but I like the song ‘Mean.'"

This will be her first competition, but MacKenzie is already training to be an actress at Seattle Talent. The school offers classes in acting, singing and modeling, and the 9-year-old is currently enrolled in a monologue class. She's also completed the fashion-commercial print and commercial workshops, and has performed in the church choir and its musicals in Texas before her family PCSed to JBLM.

"She is bubbly and very outgoing," said Laura, MacKenzie's mother and wife of Pfc. Bryan Booth of the 593rd Stustainment Brigade, 9th Finance Company. "I'm happy that she trying new things so she'll know if she likes something. NAM is different - there are interested in who you are and not how you look."

NAM promotes empowering girls and teaches them poise and self-confidence. They learn interviewing and public speaking skills and contestants are not allowed to wear makeup, overly dramatic dresses, nor will MacKenzie be allowed to participate in the swimwear competition because of her age. Contestants must also participate in NAM's Community Involvement Project during competition.

"I watch ‘Toddlers and Tiaras' on TV," said MacKenzie, "and they're brats. Just because they won, they think they can boss everyone around. I promised my friend if I win I wouldn't be like that."

MacKenzie and the other contestants in five categories will be judged on their interviews, and age-appropriate evening and interview gowns, along with their talent.

However, "We are in dire need of sponsors to help with the expense of the competition," said Laura. "We've gotten donations from friends and family and that paid for admission but there's so much more involved."

MacKenzie, whose favorite thing to do is play softball, attends Clarkmoor Elementary on JBLM and is looking forward to being a safety patrol guide when she enters fifth-grade in September.

MacKenzie is nervous about competing in the pageant but she's ready to give it her best shot.

 "My birthday is August 27," she said. "If I win, it'll be the perfect present."

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