Tiny tot holds Leavenworth County title

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Tiny Miss Leavenworth County was the latest title won by 4-year-old Nayeli Jefferson, seen here Jan. 21 with her pageant sashes in the playroom at her home in Lansing. Nayeli earned the title at the Salute to the Troops Pageant in July 2019 in Jonesboro, Ark. She will compete in the Midwest State Finals in April. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Nayeli Jefferson may only be 4 years old, but she already holds several pageant titles and crowns, with many of them obtained at the Salute to the Troops Pageant July 21 in Jonesboro, Ark.

Not only did she receive awards for best dress, best hair, and best eyes among others, but she won the second highest title Mega High Point and took home the title of Tiny Miss Leavenworth County. With that title under her belt, she’s getting ready to compete for the Midwest State title April 24-26 in St. Louis, Mo.

During the Salute to the Troops Pageant, she also competed in a beauty routine and an Army-themed routine.

“I (saluted),” Nayeli Jefferson said.

Tiny Miss Leavenworth County 4-year-old Nayeli Jefferson holds her crown in place as she tickles her 5-year-old brother Braylen as he does a headstand near a wall displaying her pageant sashes Jan. 21 at their home in Lansing. Nayeli earned the Tiny Miss Leavenworth County title at the Salute to the Troops Pageant in July 2019 in Jonesboro, Ark. She will compete in the Midwest State Finals in April. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Jefferson is the daughter of Sgt. Anthony Jefferson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 705th Military Police Battalion (Detention), and Briana Jefferson, and sister of 5-year-old Braylen. Though Nayeli has done pageants since she was a baby, Briana Jefferson said it was when she was 3 that she really got into it.

Tiny Miss Leavenworth County 4-year-old Nayeli Jefferson stands in front of a wall displaying her pageant sashes with her mom Briana, 5-year-old brother Braylen, and father Sgt. Anthony Jefferson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 705th Military Police Battalion (Detention), Jan. 21 in the playroom at their home in Lansing. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

“Salute to the Troops caught our attention being military. We’re not the type of people that we’re going to force our kids to do something, so it is important for her to want to do it, and you can tell she wants to do it. And we want to do what she wants to do,” Briana Jefferson said. “With us being a military family, it was really hard to make connections with kids and make friends, whereas in the pageant world, it is more like a family. We’re supportive of each other, and she has these friendships that are able to last. They are able to check in on each other, see each other in pageants, support each other and that is important for them to have friends.”

Briana Jefferson said Nayeli is constantly practicing and even for the state pageant will be doing a tribute to late singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez.

“We’re super, super proud of her,” Briana Jefferson said. “She is super, super excited.”

“It’s been a whole new ball game,” Sgt. Jefferson added.

Nayeli Jefferson said she is excited to continue practicing for the regional pageant.

“I like pageants a lot,” she said. “(I like) winning all the trophies and all the crowns.”

Sgt. Jefferson said it is interesting to watch Nayeli on stage.

“She is so excited when she’s up there,” Sgt. Jefferson said. “She gives it her all, and her little personality shines through a lot.

“I just hope it opens doors for whatever it is she might want to explore,” he said.

Tiny Miss Leavenworth County 4-year-old Nayeli Jefferson looks at her pageant sashes, displayed on a wall in the playroom, Jan. 21 at her home in Lansing. Nayeli earned the Tiny Miss Leavenworth County title at the Salute to the Troops Pageant in July 2019 in Jonesboro, Ark. She will compete in the Midwest State Finals in April. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Briana Jefferson said she hopes her daughter remains confident as she continues to compete.

“She has just bloomed so much and come out of her shell,” Briana Jefferson said. “In pageants, they are all about doing good in school, being the nice girl and not the mean girl, being active in the community, and I just hope that she takes that and runs with it.”

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