By Elaine Dunn | January 2022
A 9-year-old from Golden Valley is currently basking in “golden girl” status! Alexandra “Allie” Wilcox, the third-grader at Breck, is the daughter of Elizabeth and Bill Wilcox. She was crowned winner of the age 7-9 division of the National American Miss (NAM) Minnesota Jr. Pre-teen 2021 pageant held on August 6-8, 2021. Over the weekend after Thanksgiving, she competed for the National title in Orlando, Fla.
No, she did not come away with the top title this time, but she placed 2nd runner-up and won a few NAM awards, including the inaugural iam Brand Ambassador Award and the NAM Alumni Essay Contest.
Don’t for a moment dismiss young Wilcox as “airhead” or “bimbo” because of her foray in beauty pageants – a path not frequently taken by Chinese or Chinese Americans. She is an accomplished chess player, figure skater, Latin dancer and an avid reader as well. According to her PR sheet, she was reading restaurant menus at the age of 3! The voracious reader is also gifted with a great memory – she retains all that she reads and is known as “the class Google” at school. Fluent in English and Chinese, she’s also studying Spanish at school. She hopes to create more awareness of cultural diversity through her pageant participation.
China Insight (CI): How and when did she get into the pageant circuit?
Apparently, mother Elizabeth did not realize how intense the pageantry business is. She signed her daughter up in 2019, thinking it would be a fun alternative to other camps. After all, the promotional flyer indicated the pageant focused on confidence building, not beauty!
“(Mom) took me to the training session where we learned that I could win crowns, trophies and prizes while building life skills along the way,” Wilcox said. “My mom thought it could be a fun thing to do for the summer break in addition to the sports and chess camps I usually went to. She completed the registration. My journey of pageantry began!
“At the training session, I heard ‘pretty feet’ for the first time where I learned to place my feet at the 12 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions for a classic model stance. After a brief interview with the state directors, my mom and I went home. A couple days later, my mom got a text message congratulating me being chosen as a state finalist.”
CI: How much practice does it take and what do you practice on?
I practice on a regular basis, once every couple of weeks. When the pageant is close, I will practice more often, maybe every week and even 20 minutes each day when the pageant is really close. I work on walking, speaking, and mock interviews. I work with a few coaches, and each focuses on different areas of the competition.
(CI): What has been the highlights of the pageant experience?
Along the way, I have made many friends at state and national pageants. Also, I contributed a chapter to a book titled, “Road to the Crown,” which became a top-seller on Amazon! The book is a collection of 17 age-appropriate stories on overcoming challenges and disappointments, and celebrating victories, giving an inside look at pageants from the eyes of the young contestants.
(CI): And what does Allie want to be when she grows up?
Allie’s current interests include modeling and acting, which she hopes to do more of in future. She also would like to do nature photography and blog about the cultures of places she visits.
Given Allie is only at the ripe old age of 9, China Insight thinks the world is her oyster yet!
About the pageant
The National American Miss Pageant is dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders. Each year, the National American Miss Pageant awards $1.5 million in cash, scholarships, and prizes to recognize and assist the development of young women nationwide.
The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation. Emphasis is placed on the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, learning good attitudes about competition, and setting and achieving personal goals.
Wilcox at her first pageant. Mother said “her smile needs work!”
Awards after the second pageant