Eme Earle is looking forward to putting on a pair of high heels, donning an elegant dress and flashing a smile in front of a crowd of people as she walks on stage. But that’s not the only reason she joined the pageant scene.
The Reading Memorial High School sophomore is just weeks away from her first pageant entry as she vies for Miss Teen Massachusetts later this month. Earle is participating in the event with hopes of winning, but also as a way to spread anti-bullying messages.
“I am standing up against bullying, which is something I see a lot,” said Earle. “I want to stress to everyone that it is an issue. Some kids might take it as a joke. But it’s not funny. It’s something that’s serious and everyone needs to be aware of. I think the message will really reach people.”
The Miss Teen Massachusetts competition is scheduled for November 23 and 24 at Lowell Auditorium. Earle has used online fundraising to help pay for many of the costs associated with the event such as dresses. As of Friday, her page on GoFundMe.com had raised $1,000 out of her $1,200 goal.
Earle, 15, is been involved in dance, softball, and cheerleading, but had never given any thought to pageants. But recently she had professional photos taken, and soon after received an email asking if she would be interested in trying out for Miss Teen Massachusetts.
Earle wasn’t sure what to expect, but said, “Why not give it a try?” Not long after her audition, the Reading resident received a phone call saying she had been accepted. Since then, she’s practiced walking around her house in heels, done trial runs on styling her hair and doing everything she can to prepare herself.
Though she has never done a pageant before, Earle is used to having all eyes on her during her performances as an all-star cheerleader, something she’s done since she was eight years old.
“The good thing is I have confidence from all-star cheering,” said Earle. “You’re on stage with thousands of people watching you. So during the pageant, if you look like you’re shy, quiet and reserved, you’re going to come off that way. If I show I know what I’m doing, it’ll bring positive vibes to everyone.”
Earle said she is excited to represent Reading in the Miss Teen Massachusetts competition as the town’s only entry.
“I really want to showcase everything we have that goes on,” said Earle. “I don’t think Reading is expecting this. So it’ll be exciting for people to see that there are people like me who want to do this things. Maybe it will encourage others to do the same.”