Hannah Beckwith has been competing in pageants for just over a month, but she is already on her way to compete for the title of Miss Washington this summer.
Beckwith said competing in pageants was always somewhere in the back of her mind. However, it wasn’t until former Miss Lewis County Kennedy Woods reached out to her over Facebook messenger that she seriously considered it.
“I’ve always looked up to her,” Beckwith said. “She’s always been in my choir. She was the lead alto in our choir and she ended up running for it (Miss Lewis County) and she has always been a big role model for me, just because of choir. She privately messaged me and was like ‘hey, you should run, it would be a great experience.’”
Beckwith was the first-runner up at the Miss Lewis County pageant this year. She won $900 for her placement and $300 for the 4 Points of the Crown award. Beckwith said the 4 Points of the Crown award is for style, service, scholarships and success.
At the Miss Washington Open & Sweeper Pageant on April 8, Beckwith won Miss Chinook. This summer, she will compete in Miss Washington.
“I knew I had to step up my game, because I was going against young women who have been competing for years,” Beckwith said. “For me, every single day I have to work on my walking and I have to work on my smiling, my stage presence.”
Beckwith said she tries to practice something different to prepare for pageants every day — and that she especially focuses on smiling.
“Some girls don’t have to because they smile beautifully, always,” Beckwith said. “It’s kind of awkward. I’m just very uncoordinated and I can’t dance for my life. So the only talent I have is singing. I figured out in Miss Lewis County that I wasn’t smiling big enough. Even though it felt like I was smiling really big, I saw pictures and I was like ‘I’m not smiling.’”
Beckwith said it’s been a steep learning curve since she started competing in pageants.
“There are girls that will max out in age this next year, so this is their last year running,” Beckwith said. “They have had five, six years of running and they have had lots of experience. It’s definitely intimidating to know that they have been doing it for five, six years. But it’s also helped me learn because I can watch them and I guess get better myself. They have all been super nice. If I had any questions, they would be like ‘oh, yeah we’re doing this next.’ They’re all super nice, it’s great.”
Beckwith is a senior at Centralia High School. She is the secretary for Centralia FFA and did prepared public speaking last year. She placed in subdistricts and moved on to districts.
“That was huge,” Beckwith said.
Beckwith has been part of FFA since her sophomore year of high school and choir since the fourth grade. For the talent portion of the open sweeper pageant, she sang “Hallelujah.”
She said the most intimidating part of this has been the experience other women have on her.
“They have been doing it for years,” Beckwith said. “They have been to Miss Washington before and I’m going into this trying to figure it all out and they have done it one or two times before me. It’s just learning. I’m sure when I get there, I will have plenty of people to tell me where I need to be, or what I need to do.”
Beckwith said that while the pageants are a huge time commitment, they are also fun.
“It is a lot of work,” Beckwith said. “You definitely have to put a lot of time and effort into it. Sometimes there are tears, but it all pays off. It’s really fun when you are on stage. It’s really fun when you are back there, especially if you are surrounded by the right people.”
Beckwith is currently in the Running Start program and attends Centralia College as well. She only has four more classes left at Centralia College before she transfers to a veterinary technician program.
“My grandpa is a big part of my life and always has been, when it comes to feeding horses, getting me to start riding horses,” Beckwith said. “I’ve always thought that I wanted to be in the medical field. Some things have drawn me away from it, but I’ve always loved it. I love learning about it, I love biology, I love how the human body works. Being in FFA I’m able to show animals and raise animals — I birth pigs. I was just thinking about it and I thought, ‘why don’t I become a veterinary technician?’”