July 17th, 2019

teen universe kansas fatima hernandezCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


The Cinco de Mayo Queen pageant is looking for contestants for May and recently, another pageant announced it is seeking contestants for June. 

The Teen Universe Kansas pageant is currently being planned for 5 p.m. Saturday, June 1 in the Comanche Middle School auditorium in Dodge City, and plans are currently being finalized for everything. The winner of the Kansas portion of the competition will go on to compete in the national pageant in San Diego later this summer. The pageant is for single girls 14 to 18 years old, and young ladies wanting to sign up for the pageant can find the application, due March 1, at

“I would say to go ahead and go for it. Whether it's something they've done in the past or it's something new for them, go for it,” Director Ana Rodriguez said. “Go out of your comfort zone and try it because you never know what you'll get out of it. And even if you're not the one actually crowned, you'll gain a ton of knowledge and experience and self-confidence, no matter what place you end up with, it's really amazing. I'm excited  for everything and a goal of mine is to make it as diverse as possible. I'm Latina myself and I want to see more color, I want to see more cultures, I want to see everyone be more involved with each other. I want all the girls to come together and realize no matter where we're from or what color we are, we all have dreams in common and sometimes that's what empowers women. Diversity is my goal for this year, so that's what I'm most excited about.”

Rodriguez only recently took over as director, and said she has been having a great experience with everything so far. 

“I actually only recently took over as director of the Kansas part of all this because they had only selected two girls for competition in previous years and it wasn't really efficient before,” Rodriguez said. “I know our current queen, Fatima Hernandez, and I recently worked with her on the Miss Dodge City pageant here in town and she was telling me her director was looking for someone to take over, so I took over it.  It's a great opportunity for girls to get out of their comfort zone and teach them about empowering themselves and others and working on communication skills, things like that. One of the toughest things nowadays is standing up in front of a crowd and speaking freely, so this helps them. It really helps them more than anything be involved with their communities and keep them from going down the wrong path.”

Rodriguez added girls who participate in the pageant will gain a lot of lifetime skills including communication and overall self-confidence. 

“I would say go for it, you won't regret it. It's amazing how many areas in life being in a pageant will help you with, and it might make them want to do it again,” Rodriguez said. “It's a great experience and I feel like there's that stereotype that winning a pageant is just getting a crown to take pictures in, but it goes so far beyond that – it teaches girls to care about themselves and be who they are as they are and do their best and make their uniqueness stand out. Nowadays I feel like it's so easy for things to go the wrong way and for children to make the wrong decisions because of peer pressure and that sort of thing. Competing in pageants, I would say, is almost like a sport – it motivates them in different areas and it inspires them to stay on track. It motivates them to learn about things that will make a positive impact on their lives.”

Overall, Rodriguez said, participating in the pageant isn’t an experience the girls will soon forget, and emphasized all girls in the age criteria who live in the area are welcome to participate in the pageant. 

“I would want the girls to know no matter the experience, everyone is the same. Everyone at the end is the same,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone might have different goals or different plans, but no matter how much experience someone has participating in pageants, it does not make them any more qualified than anyone else, and I want all the girls to feel equal and know they're all just as qualified to be there as anyone else. Be yourself, love yourself as you are and have a plan for what you'll use this title for. If we can help spread the word out about this in the area, that would be great because I want every girl to have a chance to do this. My goal is to expand this to where the entire state knows about this and everyone has the same chances to get crowned.”

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