Stephanie Chervenkov, a lifelong resident of Bel Air and member of The John Carroll School Class of 2012, will be competing at the 30th annual Miss Teen USA pageant on July 28.
The Miss Teen USA pageant, which will be held this year in the Bahamas, features a teenager from each of the 50 states and from Washington, D.C.
Chervenkov earned the honor of representing Maryland after she competed against 80 other Maryland teens and won the Miss Teen Maryland pageant in October 2011.
Unlike many of her competitors, Chervenkov has only two years of experience in the world of beauty pageants.
She first competed for Miss Maryland Teen USA in her junior year of high school because, she says, "really wanted to get into modeling" and thought it would be "something cool to try." Chervenkov says that she "ended up loving" the experience.
As Miss Teen Maryland, Chervenkov has had the opportunity to speak at events such as the Dreams for Kids Foundation Christmas event, the Johns Hopkins Children's Center Event and the Happy Helpers for the Homeless 19th Annual birthday party, MG models event, among many others. She also been a guest at numerous local fashion shows.
While competitions such as Miss Teen USA have been criticized by feminist activists, such as Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan, for placing disproportional value on women's appearances, Chervenkov thinks the experience can be a positive one.
"If a girl is passionate about pageantry and wants to try it out, I would tell her to go for it and follow her dreams because my experience has been nothing but positive," she said
Chervenkov hopes to win the title of Miss Teen USA, which comes with a scholarship to the New York Film Academy. Should Chervenkov not win the title, she plans to attend Notre Dame of Maryland University in the fall with an undecided major.
The Miss Teen USA features online voting to select semifinalists. The voting opened on July 1 and closes July 27. For information, go to http://www.missuniverse.com/missteenusa/members/contestants.