WHITE HAVEN — For Courtney Dornheim, beauty pageants are about more than winning a crown.
The 18-year-old from White Haven will travel to Boca Raton, Florida, July 11-16, for the USA National Miss pageant to compete for the title of USA National Teen. According to the organization’s website, USA National Miss “is a fashion-forward, national pageant organization that exists to enrich the lives of young women ages 4-25 through an unsurpassed pageant experience.”
Dornheim entered the pageant world a few years ago as something to do for experience after moving from the Philadelphia area. She competed in the National American Miss Pageant to have a little fun and gain experience.
“I wasn’t expecting to go in there and leave with a crown on my head,” she said.
But, after meeting so many girls and starting friendships, Dornheim knew it wouldn’t be the end of her pageant career. She loves the people she met and the supportive community she found participating in pageants.
“My mom thought I was going to be one and done,” Dornheim said. “That was not the case.”
After National American Miss, Dornheim got the “pageant bug.” Dornheim found the USA National Miss state pageant in Pittsburgh and decided to give it a shot.
“Somehow, miraculously, I won,” Dornheim said.
The winners of the state wide USA National Miss pageants, and girls who won appointed titles through their states, will compete in interviews, formal wear and a fashion show for the national title.
If Dornheim wins, she will represent USA National Miss’s platform, “The Crown Cares Platform to Prevent Bullying.”
Their platform closely aligns with her own platform, “Some Bruises are on the Inside – Stop Bullying Now,” a cause close to her heart. Growing up, she struggled with bullying.
“I get to go out and promote and stand up for what I believe in,” Dornheim said.
While Dornheim is relatively new to the pageant world, she takes her leadership role within the community seriously. She participates in charity events and walks, and looks for ways to be involved.
“I just try to look for events that I could help in rather than just go there and stand around,” Dornheim said.
She hopes she can spread a positive message to young people and make a difference in their lives through speaking events.
Her mother, Kim, who will travel to Florida with Dornheim, said she is proud of her daughter.
There “isn’t a cap on the pride,” she said.
After the pageant, Dornheim will move to Alabama to attend Troy University and study sports management, but she doesn’t plan to completely hang up the crown. Troy University has a ‘Miss Troy’ pageant in which she plans on competing.
This “has taught me the love for pageantry and the love for sisterhood,” she said.
Reach Brigid Edmunds at 570-991-6119 or on Twitter @TL_News