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PHOTOS BY MATT BOYD PHOTOGRAPHY Star Spangled America’s Independence Day provided the perfect celebratory backdrop as the International Jr. Miss Pageant crowned its six newest queens nternational Jr. Miss returned to pag- eant central—Orlando, Florida—and celebrated the Fourth of July national holiday week with the crowning of six new IJM queens. Widely known and recognized for show productions worthy of any Orlando attraction, International Jr. Miss Executive Director Nikki Clark and the IJM stage presentations provided all the glamour, excitement, drama, and energy that any world-class event could provide, let alone six. Welcome to Interna- tional Jr. Miss. The International Jr. Miss competition brought talented and determined young ladies together to compete for one of the six prestigious crowns. Delegates repre- senting domestic as well as international titles were to compete within the respec- tive divisions—IJM Jr. Princess (ages 4-6), IJM Princess (ages 7-9), IJM Pre-Teen (ages 10-12), IJM Jr. Teen (ages 13-15), IJM Teen (ages 16-18), and IJM Miss (ages 19-24). I 82 PAGEANTRY Success However, this is still International Jr. Miss, in Orlando, Florida, during the Fourth of July holiday, and there was ample time to celebrate and have fun without the pressure of full-blown compe- tition. Kicking off the week IJM style, everyone enjoyed the opening poolside BBQ feast and a pajama party where the theme of the day and evening was fun, sun, and more fun. Great food, music, crafts, games, and the all-inclusive limbo contest provided the perfect family atmos- phere to the IJM finals. The International Junior Miss option- al competitions are fun, competitive, and another chance to show the crowd the tal- ents these young ladies possess. While not required for the overall International Jr. Miss titles, optional competitions present their own prize packages and are thus still highly sought after. All six divisions would have the opportunity to showcase their in- dividual talents within the optional Talent competition. All genres of the arts were featured, including vocalists, dancers, in- strumentalists, and more. Interestingly, with so much talent abounding at IJM, del- egates could compete within two talent performances of their choosing. Additionally, in the Photogenic compe- tition, all delegates put their best faces for- ward in hopes of winning the cash scholarship and IJM award. Casual wear, while similar to the required Fun Fashion, allowed the contestants to let-down-their- hair in the less restrictive optional arena. Many within the glamour lifestyle indus- try dream of a career in front of the cam- era, and the Spokesmodel competition was the perfect chance to present themselves in a 30-40 second commercial. If you still wanted more, you could finally begin to re- alize your dream within the Actress com- petition, a 15-30 second scripted audition. But while the optional competitions are welcome, everyone here is in pursuit of the International Jr. Miss crown and it was time to embrace finals competition mode. In traveling to Orlando in pursuit of the International Jr. Miss crown, delegates would compete within four preliminary categories regardless of age. Competition would begin with a 30-45 second person- al introduction in which the individual