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Tehachapi Teen Shines at IJM Pageant


Trinity Madden

Trinity Madden (11) has just come home from Virginia Beach, where she competed in the International Junior Miss competition for the title of International Junior Miss International Preteen. Rather than be upset about not winning, Madden is grateful for her time at IJM. "There's a lot of girls who didn't even make it that far. I felt really lucky to have the chance to go there." She doesn't just lose with grace, she loses with outright enthusiasm. "All the preteens are crying because they didn't make Top 15, and I'm dancing backstage and stuff. It was a good experience." The way she sees it, she did her best, and there's always next year.

This is her second year doing pageants, and already she has competed with girls from around the world. She was Young Miss Tehachapi two years ago, and has competed in pageants in Orange County, Huntington Beach, Napa, and Antelope Valley. At International Junior Miss, girls came from Australia, Africa, Haiti, the Bahamas, as well as all over the United States. Madden competed in competitions that tested her public speaking and poise. One competition, Casual Wear, allowed girls to show off their own personal styles in a show of modeling and stage presence. For her talent, she tap danced to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy". Her mother, Andrea Hall, is Madden's adviser, coordinator, and best friend in the pageant world. Pageants are a bonding experience for the two of them, Madden's mother is always helping her practice for interviews.

An important distinction to make is that International Junior Miss is not a beauty pageant. Beauty pageants are all flash and body glitter, but IJM, as well as Madden's other pageants, are a lot more.

She doesn't like beauty pageants, only if there is work involved, interviews, community service. Madden has done more work over the past two years than some high school students do in four. At eleven years old, she's already completed nearly 1,000 hours of volunteer work. She has received the Presidential Award two years in a row for completing more than 400 hours of community service. Trinity Madden keeps a packed schedule, with pageants, tae kwon do, cheerleading, guitar lessons, tap dancing, and honor roll. She has very little downtime, and likes it that way. She'll work for Ronald McDonald House in the morning and Marley's Mutts in the afternoon. Of course, Madden is quick to point out that none of it would be possible without her mother. "One thousand hours of community service for Trinity means one thousand hours of community service for mom," says Madden, "It's a team effort."

IJM is more than just a night of glitz and glamour, it spans days, and features a variety of activities, rehearsals, a cruise dinner, pajama parties, and competitions all throughout. "She likes the community service, she likes the speaking in public, less so the glitz and the glam," says Hall. She keeps her volunteer work local, working with Marley's Mutts and JDRF (juveinille diabetes).

Local businesses play a crucial role in funding Madden. Ashmore Motors has been a sponsor for Madden's various pageant expenses.

Through pageants, Madden has gained crucial lifelong skills. "By the time she's in high school and getting her first job, interviews will not be a problem," says Hall, "Talking to people, customer service? Easy." With all the public speaking and networking skills pageants have given her, Madden aims to make a difference in the world by making her own platform. "She's deaf, she has disabilities. She's been bullied and all that because she's deaf. She wants to start an organization that not only focuses on bullying with people in general, but has a lot to do with anyone who has disabilities," says Hall. She wants to show other kids like her that regardless of your disability, you can do anything you want to do. Madden is a competitive dancer, and though she has hearing aides for her day to day, she dances without them, completely deaf. At IJM, she wore her hearing aides while dancing, and they were more of a hindrance than a help. Madden wants girls like her to be able to post pictures and videos of what they've been through and what they've accomplished online without fear of being bullied.

Madden will continue to do pageants, and has one lined up for August. She plans on continuing her volunteer work, as well as making the world and the world wide web a safer and more accepting place for kidswith disabilities. Trinity Madden is a girl on a mission, so the world better get ready for her.


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