Shaler Area student named Miss Pennsylvania Junior Teen
Mariah Malloy thinks every loss she has experienced has helped her learn how to wear her crown.
Mariah, a Shaler Area High School freshman, was crowned Miss Pennsylvania Junior Teen, in division 1, of the National American Miss pageant competition in August and will represent the state at the National American Miss Pageant in Anaheim, Calif., in November.
Mariah started participating in pageants in the fifth grade after receiving an information packet about one, but in the seven state-level pageants she has participated in, through three pageant circuits, she never had made it into the top five overall pageant winners, until this year.
“I burst into tears,” Mariah said about when her name was announced as the winner. “I was so happy, I was shaking like a Chihuahua.
“All my hard work paid off, and it's such a good feeling.”
In addition to winning the crown and Miss Pennsylvania title, she also was first runner-up for Most Promising Model and second-runner up for Most Photogenic in the optional contests and first runner-up for Miss Personality, which is voted on by pageant contestants.
“There is a saying, ‘First you have to lose to know how to win.' I really believe it,” Mariah said about her persistence in pageants. “You learn so much about each and every experience.”
Mariah, 14, who has aspirations of being a sports broadcaster or performer, focuses on the pageants as a way to improve her communication skills and confidence. Contestants in the National American Miss pageants are scored on a formal wear competition, personal introduction and interviews with judges.
To prepare for pageants, Mariah rehearses her public-speaking skills by practicing her introduction speech and answers to interview questions. She goes to the Shaler Area High School gym to tone and work out, and every day leading up to the pageant, Mariah practices her casual walk and formal walk outside of Sears on the top floor of the Ross Park Mall, where there is a large open area and seats for her parents to sit and critique her.
“It's like a job for her,” said Mariah's mother, Lisa Malloy, about her daughter's dedication. “This is serious business.”
In addition to practicing for the pageant, Mariah takes voice lessons once a week from the Rev. Nicol L. Porter and is a vocalist in the Eastminster Presbyterian Church's Youth Praise Band in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood.
She also is a high honors student and will be a cast member in the high school's fall play.
Mariah said the schedule can be challenging, especially when she is trying to balance schoolwork and her other commitments.
“I have to pull all-nighters a couple times during the school week,” Mariah said. “I feel doing all this helps develop speaking skills and gets me out of my shell.
“I love trying new things and taking new thrills.”
During her year reign as Miss Pennsylvania Junior Teen, she will make appearances in parades and festivals, as well as volunteer for local organizations. Mariah plans to deliver school supplies, collected by contestants at the state pageant to Pittsburgh Roosevelt PreK-1 School in Carrick and Rogers Primary School in Shaler and donate books that were collected to nonprofit organizations.
Mariah said she's looking forward to representing her state and experiencing a pageant at the national level.
“I hope I'm able to make a ton of new friends from different states,” she said. “I'm really excited to meet my fellow queens.”
Mariah is the daughter of Mark T. Malloy III, and Lisa Malloy. They live in Shaler Township with Mariah's sister, Jaclyn Conroy and Conroy's children Arianna, 6, and Markee, 3.
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.