If the Miss America competition is Barbie, then Miss Native American USA is Skipper, lesser known and smaller in scale, but still very much in production. Its second-ever pageant brings together 10 native women from tribes across the U.S. to compete for a crown that represents how tradition and modernity blend in native life. Contestant Jacquelyn Jesus (Navajo) says that's part of the pageant's charm.
"I think the whole concept is having a beauty pageant, but also incorporating traditional elements," Jesus says. That means looking good is important, but so is respecting elders and judges through her fashion, presentation, and talent choices. She hopes her modest clothing mixed with squash blossom jewelry, presentation on Navajo mythology, and Navajo language adaptation of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star will win the judges' favor.
See who's crowned winner at the competition, which runs from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, August 3, at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 West Rio Salado Parkway. Tickets are $15 and available at TCA's box office, which can be reached at 480-350-2882 or www.tempe.gov/tca. Visit www.missnativeamericanusapageant.com for more.