In March of 2021, Anya Annone decided to enter her first pageant ever and chose the American Pageants Inc organization. She was appointed Junior Miss of the Southern States that would grant her the opportunity to compete at Nationals on Thanksgiving weekend. This State Title could not be more fitting since Anya has lived in 3 “Southern States.” For years, Anya would watch on television and social media so many young ladies her age win titles and use their crown for a purpose. Her Mother competed in pageants as a teen and compliments pageants for teaching her the best interview skills, community impact, and for finding some of the best friends a girl could dream of. As a toddler, Anya would play dress up in her old gowns, sashes, and crowns pretending she was a Queen. After a long struggle with self-confidence and overcoming bullying in Elementary school, Anya finally said, it’s time to prove to myself I can do this. She knew of someone at her local High School in Georgia who competed in pageants. Anya decided to reach out to her which is very outside of her comfort zone. After an encouraging conversation, she decided to apply for the job of Junior Miss of the Southern States. Anya immediately started using her title and crown for a purpose. She knew the perfect platform for her was to drive the importance of literacy. Reading has got Anya through so much anxiety and overcome a vision disability which is what made her an easy target to be bullied. This is what drove her to create the platform “Readers Are Leaders.” This is a program where she reads to school children in their classroom promoting literacy, how it defines their future positively and it plays a role in bullying prevention. Anya’s favorite quote is “A normal person lives one life, but a reader lives thousands.” Anya is an Italian-American 15-year-old, Entrepreneur, Volunteer, Cheerleader and 10th grade honor roll student. Having the job of Junior Miss of the Southern States for American Pageants Inc has opened so many more volunteering opportunities. Achieving the promotion of “Junior Miss of America” will now take her platform and volunteering opportunities even further. She has read to several preschools and elementary schools during their reading time. Her goal is to read to one school per month at minimum to touch as many children as possible in hopes she can impact them just like it did her. Anya has the highest Reading Lexile score last 2 years in her class. Not too bad for someone blind in one eye that struggled with the ability to see small letters in elementary school. In June, Anya volunteered for “Rise Against Hunger” where over 250k meals were delivered to Haiti. She is a member of “For Paws Sake” Pet club where they gather donations of food, supplies and shelter for pets in need. Just when you think she couldn’t fit extra-curricular activities in her daily life, she started her own online boutique that she calls her back up plan, is the youngest on the Varsity Cheerleading Team, a Senior Red Belt in Taekwondo, a novice tumbler in training, and the one that gets eyebrows lifted, a Marksman Sharpshooter. Anya aspires to major in Forensics with a minor in Journalism. She would like to be chosen to attend the Teen FBI camp in Virginia. She plans to also write her own book or two as well. When Anya isn’t reading her favorite novel, studying for an exam, volunteering, cheering, she is a normal teen girl. She loves to cook with her family, spending time with close friends, and loves Pinterest Fashion and Makeup boards. Wardrobe shopping for Nationals is a close second. This has been the best year of her life and she is learning so much about herself.
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