When Enumclaw resident Ellie Schmidt received an invitation to compete in the National American Miss pageant, her mother Angie thought it would be a great way to boost her daughter’s self esteem.
It was her first ever pageant, but Ellie placed well enough (second runner-up in Queens Court and first runner-up in Talent) to attend Nationals, which took place in Disneyland last weekend.
“Being in these pageants shows me how I can build up my confidence,” Ellie said. “I can just be myself out there. I don’t have to be this big someone that I’m not.”
Unlike some beauty pageants like Toddler’s in Tiaras, National American Miss is big on focusing on inner beauty. In fact, much to Schmidt’s approval, competitors as young as Ellie, 10, aren’t even allowed to wear makeup when they compete, and the competition instead focuses on community service, leadership and talent, she said.
“I didn’t want to be part of the mainstream ones because I didn’t want people to know me for my beauty,” Ellie said. “I want them to know who I am inside.”
A cornerstone of the National American Miss pageant is community service, which Ellie has done in abundance.
“For some of my volunteer work, I worked on my fundraising program, ‘Hope’,” Ellie said. “It’s a program me and my friend came up with one night when we were having a sleepover.”
The Hope fundraising program is small and not a registered non-profit, but Ellie and her friend Amelia Poulin raised hundreds of dollars for various charities last summer by selling lemonade, baked goods and crafts at a stand outside her parent’s house.
The majority of the money Ellie raised went to educational programs, as well as buying items for care packages sent to orphans all around the world through Samaritan’s Purse through the Wabash Church on the Plateau.
For her community service, which was all performed before Ellie signed up for National American Miss, she received the bronze Presidential Service Award.
Talent is another big portion of National American Miss.
One of Ellie’s talents is singing, which she used to win the talent portion of the Queens for a Cure 2017 pageant, another natural beauty pageant, on Nov. 5. Ellie also won the pre-teen Queen title for the event.
Although Ellie finished competing in National American Miss last weekend, results from the pageant won’t be revealed until this weekend.
However she places, though, Ellie feels that she’s been inspired to continue down this path of natural beauty pageants and community service.
“I want to be the CEO if my own non-profit,” she said. “I also want to be an actress and singer.”