By Denise DuBois
Meet Shiann Harper, Miss Phenix City
Shiann Harper was crowned Miss Phenix City. She is a 21-year-old student at University of Alabama at Birmingham studying biology with a pre-dental concentration. Harper is from Mount Olive, Ala., and is the daughter of Dwight and Kelli Harper. She has previously held the titles of Miss Gardendale Magnolia Festical Outstanding Teen, Miss Gardendale Magnolia Festival, Miss Quad Cities and Miss Northeast Alabama.
How did it feel to be crowned Saturday night and what are you most looking forward to about being Miss Phenix City?
The best thing about being crowned was knowing that I am joining such a supportive pageant family and community. I am so excited to share my platform with Phenix City and hopefully work with community leaders to implement community service initiatives for youth in the area.
Talk about your platform and why you chose it. My platform is YouthServe and its mission is to promote youth volunteerism and leadership while giving youth the tools to make positive impacts in their communities. I chose this platform after attending one of their Urban Service Camps where we stayed at the YWCA of Birmingham for a week and volunteered throughout the city.
Do you have advice for young girls who may be considering pageant? I would advise them to do a pageant because you just might meet your best friends in the process like I did while gaining valuable life skills.
Talk about your talent and why you chose it. I’ve always loved Michael Jackson, so choosing Smooth Criminal was an easy choice for me. I’ve clogged since I was 3 and I love how I can entertain a crowd through my love of dance.
What is something quirky or interesting about you?
I don’t have my ears pierced, which is very unusual in the pageant world.
How has participating in pageants changed you?
I have gained my absolute best friends through this organization. I have also become a more well-rounded person. I am so thankful for the scholarship money that I have been able to earn through competing, as well.
Meet Tannah Kirkland, Miss Phenix City’s Outstanding Teen
Tannah Kirkland was named Miss Phenix City’s Outstanding Teen. Kirkland is 16 and is from Pinson, Ala. She attends Pinson Valley High School. She is the daughter of David and Stacy Cole, and Chad and Aneda Kirkland. She has previously been named 2018 Miss Covered Bridge’s Outstanding Teen and 2017 Miss North Jefferson Area’s Outstanding Teen.
Why did you begin participating in pageants? When I was 4 years old, I was diagnosed with MRSA Staph Infection that caused 2nd degree burns on my leg. I was admitted into Children’s hospital of Alabama where a doctor asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, to which I replied, “Miss America.” My family was pretty shocked that I even knew of Miss America, but since then, my parents have supported the pursuit of my dreams.
How did it feel to be crowned Saturday night? Before I competed this year, I prayed that God would give me the director for me. When they called my name as the talent winner, I was excited, but when they called my name as the winner, I was ecstatic! However, my parents had been in Alaska and were getting back the next day, so I was sad to know that they didn’t get to experience this with me.
What are you most looking forward to about being Miss PCOT? I’m not only looking forward to having Mama G as my director and Shiann as my Miss, but I’m also excited to bring my platform to the community!
Talk about your platform and why you chose it. My platform is Growing Happy and Confident Kids, through My Buddy Bench. My Buddy Bench is a bench that goes onto elementary school playgrounds. If a child is feeling lonely, being bullied, or needing to “cool down” from a negative situation, then they sit on the bench. I teach the students that when they see someone is sitting on the bench, then they need a “Buddy.” I aspire to be a Pediatric Psychiatrist and I wanted to help kids now. After learning that 160,000 children miss school every day in fear of being bullied, I want to make a difference in schools. Happy kids are learning kids.
Do you have advice for young girls who may be considering pageants? Learn to be happy with who you are so you don’t compare yourself to others and know that it’s God’s plan above everything else. Stay true to yourself and enjoy every moment.
How has participating in pageants changed you? I started competing in pageants when I was 4 so I don’t remember life without pageants. However, the Miss America system has taught me about setting goals and achieving them.