Tualatin's Jaycie Forrester crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA
A 16-year-old Tualatin resident was crowned as Miss Teen Oregon USA on Sunday, Oct. 8.
Thirty-one young women with brains and beauty walked the stage at Mt. Hood Community College on Sunday, all with one goal: to represent their state as Miss Oregon USA or Miss Oregon Teen USA in a national pageant to be held in 2018.
After three rounds of competition, two were chosen as winners. Tualatin resident Jaycie Forrester, 16, was crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA 2018, while Toneata Morgan, 21, was crowned Miss Oregon USA 2018.
Forrester is a 4.0 student at Horizon Christian High School in Tualatin, where she is involved with National Honor Society, DECA and ASB. She plans to attend college and study criminal profiling.
Each contestant picked a social issue important to her, and Forrester's was helping teens develop better self-confidence.
"I grew up not having that much self-confidence and my mom helped me get better. Having good self-confidence helps you with self-esteem," Forrester said.
Forrester won two awards even before being crowned Miss Oregon Teen USA: the teen academic award, including a $300 scholarship, and Miss Photogenic Teen, voted on by the audience.
Maureen Francisco, co-producer of the Miss Oregon USA pageant, said, "As the winner of our academic award, Jaycie is a person who can juggle school and being Miss Oregon Teen USA."
This pageant focuses on "what it means to be confidently beautiful," Francisco said. "That is the message of the Miss Universe organization; these women are comfortable in their own skin."
David Van Maren, Francisco's husband and co-producer of the pageant, said that all the contestants this year are "well educated and have done amazing things academically. Overall they have very strong goals, some in the sciences."
He added, "The great thing about what we do is introduce contestants to people working in their area of interest, so they can get internships. This allows them to follow up on their goals and dreams."
This was Forrester's first pageant, and she said she learned that even if you are just starting out, you can still do well.
Winning Miss Teen Oregon USA has given her more self-confidence, Forrester said, adding that she is looking forward to making appearances and getting to know new people in the year ahead.
Morgan, who won the adult award, grew up in Coquille but now attends college in Los Angeles, at Loyola Marymount University.
Competing as Miss Sunset Bay USA, Morgan has her own active-wear company called All Legs, which partners with charities to promote causes that matter to women.
Both Morgan and Forrester will enter the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants in 2018, and the Miss USA winner will go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, according to Francisco.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Miss Oregon USA's birthplace. She was born in San Francisco but grew up in Coquille. The story has been updated.
By Ellen Spitaleri