For two Sedalia girls, entering pageants is more than a pretty face and receiving a crown — it’s about making the world a better place.

Miss Missouri Preteen Natalie Windle, 12, and Miss Show Me State Preteen Chloe Bassett, 11, will compete in the 2019 Princess of America National Pageant July 29 through Aug. 3 in Branson. Both girls are members of Studio A Dance Conservatory’s Pre-Professional Dance Company and both know the significance of community service.

Kim Windle, Natalie’s mother, said much work goes into preparing for a pageant and it’s more than just walking in front of judges in a pretty dress. It teaches them life skills.

“(Natalie) has become more outgoing,” she noted. “She’s got more comfortable as she gets ready to speak in public. It’s really helped her be more confident and more comfortable as a public speaker.

“I think a lot of people hear ‘beauty pageant’ and think they just walk across the stage in a dress,” she continued. “It’s just a lot more than that.”

Windle said the girls spend hours on walking patterns, on their talent, on community service and on interviews.

“They work on interview preparation, like how to do a proper interview,” she said. “Because there is so much of pageants that is real life skills. Even if you are not an anchor person on the news, you still have to learn how to talk in front of other people.

“It’s more than looking good on the stage,” she continued. “There’s a lot of different elements than just looking pretty.”

Windle said one of the important parts of the competition is the interview process. Both girls are competing for the Junior Ambassador title. For this particular title, the girls have to turn in a 10-page binder with a letter of recommendation, a list of seven community service projects, written information and photos.

Kim Windle noted the pageant encourages a full-rounded competition viewpoint and uses #CrownWithACause on photos for social media.

“So that people can see that their crown isn’t just for being beautiful, it’s for going out and working in your community,” she said. “It’s for making your world a better place.”

Both Natalie Windle and Bassett have participated in many community service projects this year.

Since February, Natalie Windle has contributed 100 hours of community service for various projects. Her projects included making dog bandanas for K9’s for Warriors, helping at an animal shelter, volunteering at a veteran’s home, helping the Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department with activities and also helping young dancers at Studio A.  

Bassett, the daughter of Paul and Michelle Bassett, recently completed a fundraiser, Chloe’s Child Safe Raffle, for Child Safe of Central Missouri Inc. She raised $4,120 and presented the funds to Child Safe Development Director Julie Hoffert Thursday at Studio A.

“It’s extremely amazing, for her to go to the extra effort,” Hoffert said. “… she really has a lot of heart. She put a lot of work into this.”

Bassett said she chose the project because she “really loves Child Safe.” Bassett also has raised more than $300 and volunteered at a local horse rescue, Whiskey Ridge Rescue, sent games and snacks to troops in Afghanistan and filled the tiny food pantries around Sedalia with food.

Pageants also have expanded Windle and Bassett’s international horizons. Both girls said they enjoy pageants because of the many friendships they gain at competitions.

“I like meeting new people,” Natalie Windle said. “I have a friend that lives in Australia. Through pageants, I’ve met people who live all over the world, from Puerto Rico, from Japan, all over the place.”

“I like making friends and performing on stage,” Bassett added.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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