Have you ever dreamed of being a pageant queen, successful actress and founder of a non-profit organization all at the age of 23? Former Miss Teen Georgia USA and budding on-screen starlet, Jena Sims, did. The young, ambitious actress chatted with College Lifestyles about her workout routine, the pageant world, and her leading role in the upcoming feature film Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader!
College Lifestyles: How would you describe your experience as Miss Georgia Teen USA? What opportunities did it offer you?
Jena Sims: I really enjoyed representing the great peach state. It was actually a full time job! It taught me leadership, confidence, poise, and gave me a taste of the entertainment business. It opened up so many doors for me! At one Special Olympics event, I volunteered with the VP of Macy’s and ended up modeling for them for the next three years. I was also able to travel the state for a year with speaking engagements at schools, charity organizations, and various other appearances and community service opportunities.
CL: What would you say to people who feel pageants are superficial or lack purpose?
Sims: Before making that judgment, I would encourage them to watch a scholarship pageant such as Miss America or Americas National Teenager Scholarship Organization. They judge girls based on grades, talent and community involvement. Not every pageant is a glitzy beauty pageant like the ones featured on popular reality shows. Most pageants encourage participants to perform community service, celebrate intelligence, and bonding between contestants often happens. They really prepare you for the real world of job interviews and public speaking.
CL: Explain the organization you founded called Has Been Beauty Queens? What inspired you to create it, and what do you hope people will take away from it?
Sims: The Has Been Beauty Queens and myself put on events called “Pageants of Hope” where every child leaves as a winner. It is a special pageant for children facing challenges where every child leaves with a title such as “Best Eyes” or “Best Hair” to name a few. My pageant focuses on building self-esteem, raising inner confidence, taking their minds off of the hospital or other pain they may be facing currently. We do their hair and makeup, teach a pageant walk, interview, and really make them feel like kings and queens for the day. My non profit was recently featured on an new ABC show called “Everyday Health” and has since put on pageants all over the world!