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.
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.
“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.
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.”