July 5, 2012 in Washington Voices

Shadle Park grad heading to Florida for teen pageant

By The Spokesman-Review

A recent Shadle Park High School graduate will represent Spokane and Washington state Saturday at the International Junior Miss Teen pageant in Orlando, Fla.

Brooklyn Hodge, 17, won the International Junior Miss Washington Teen crown back in January. In addition to the evening wear, personal introduction and interview aspects, there was a talent portion of the competition as well, she said. She sang “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” by Cyndi Lauper, even though she has had no formal vocal training.

“I do it for fun,” she said.

Along with her crown, Hodge received a $300 scholarship and a ticket to the national competition. She said the best part of winning wasn’t the crown; it was the opportunity to represent her community.

“I love that I can be a role model in my community,” she said.

As IJM Washington Teen, she makes at least one appearance a month at fundraisers and other events, and also helped put together a pajama pageant to collect new pajamas for foster kids.

“It was cool to see how to run a pageant not as a contestant,” she said.

When Hodge was 8, she wanted to try out for a play. Her mother, Mary Johnson, said Hodge worked very hard at the audition process. She went to all the workshops and practiced, but when the time came to audition, she was too afraid to go on stage.

No longer. She took seven years of dance and was on the dance team when she attended Ferris High School before she transferred to Shadle for her senior year.

“This is my second home,” Hodge said of being on stage.

Johnson said although her daughter now has a lot of confidence in herself, that wasn’t always the case. Hodge is tall and often felt out of place in groups of other girls.

“She was not necessarily comfortable,” she said. “All the other girls were shorter.”

Johnson said she looked into the International Junior Miss pageant before Hodge decided to compete. Although the competition has several age groups, including girls younger than 10, it’s not the kind of pageant that dolls up the little ones like in some reality television shows. The younger girls don’t wear makeup at all.

“The little girls look like little girls,” Johnson said. “They work their way into looking glamorous.”

Hodge left for Orlando on Monday and was looking forward to a week of fun events, such as a slumber party with the other contestants and a pool party.

She said everything is bigger at the national level – the crown, the scholarship and the commitment. If she wins, she’ll receive a $5,000 scholarship.

This fall, Hodge plans to attend Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta. She wants to be a lawyer, but she isn’t quite sure what kind of law she wants to practice.

“I feel like I’m not old enough to know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life,” she said.

When she isn’t involved in a pageant, Hodge works at Blu Berry Froyo near NorthTown Mall. She also spends time babysitting her younger brother, Carson Johnson, who is 5.

“That keeps me busy,” she said.

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