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Oct-19-2008 20:00printcomments

Salem Girl Has High Hopes for Miss Teen Oregon Competition

A Salem girl seeks to become the first capital city winner in the 2009 Miss Teen Oregon USA event.

Debra Brown
Photos courtesy: Debra Brown

(SALEM, Ore.) - A North Salem High Junior with big aspirations for her future says earning the Miss Teen Oregon title would propel her career as a travel nurse several ways.

Debra Brown says it is time that a more ordinary competitor takes home the title of Miss Teen Oregon; somebody who has had to overcome challenges in life.

It would also be unique for Salem and an accomplishment for the capitol city, she added.

Miss Oregon Teen USA pageant organizers say the event allows young women in Oregon say the event has allowed many young ladies to show their ability to shine on a national level.

Some recent success stories they reference include:

* Jennifer Murphy, Miss Oregon USA 2004, was selected to appear on the hit show The Apprentice.

* Jessica Carlson, Miss Oregon USA 2005, recently graduated from Portland State University with a Masters Degree in Physics and will be entering medical school.

* Many former titleholders own businesses and are celebrities who are active in their communities.

In order to pull out ahead of the other Oregon contestants, Debra must compete in three areas; "Interview Competition", "Swimsuit Competition" and "Evening Gown Competition". She does have modeling experience and based on her interview with, she is well above average as a communicator. The slideshow below shows many images of this Miss Teen Oregon contender.

In the interview, Debra was candid about her ambitions, and shared a vision for her future.

Debra says there are a number of things that attracted her to the Miss Teen Oregon 2009 pageant.

"I'm a junior at North Salem High School, I'm very involved with my school including all athletics, band, orchestra, quartet, rotary interact, and leadership. I plan on becoming a travel nurse and my platform is health care. I'm focused and driven to win this pageant. If I win, I'll be the first winner from Salem! Mainly contestants are always from the metro area and I think we're about due for one in Oregon's capital."

During the interview competition, Debra will spend time with pageant judges and explain her successes, talents, goals and ambitions. The judges will focus attention on her poise, charm, self-confidence and her ability to communicate. They will also evaluate her based on the substance of her answers.

The other side of the competition; involving swimsuits and evening gowns, is an area some people criticize as exploitative in nature. Debra says she believes the word "exploit" does not fit in this context, and instead sees the physically attractive aspect as a confidence builder.

"Girls need better role models in today's world and I know I'd qualify and perform at my best as a role model, a friend, and a pageant winner. Pageants are misconstrued as exploitation, when I personally believe it brings out the best in a girl, it allows a girl to be feminine and confident all while providing a little motivation through competition."

During the swimsuit competition, judges will focus attention on beauty of face, figure, physical fitness, and the confidence with which each contestant carries herself. In the evening gown competition, each contestant wears a gown she has chosen for herself. They are graded on overall appearance, self-confidence, sense of style and the beauty she brings to the gown of her choice.

Debra believes winning the pageant would give a boost to her professional, as well as personal development.

"Having a title as prestigious as Miss Oregon Teen USA 2009 will allow me to contact and meet people of different areas and levels that will benefit me and the charities I promote. If I win, during my year long reign I will do as much as I can and as professionally as I can to help better our town and state."

What she really needs at this point, are sponsors to help defray some of the associated costs of competing. The total needed is around $1500, Debra said.

"Any money donations made are tax-deductible as an advertising expense for business owners. In addition to that, the sponsor-company name will be printed in the program book next to my name and picture. A larger 1/2 page ad can be placed in the book for an additional $200."

She says she is also more than willing to make personal appearances by and for the company to hold signings, to model products. "Any amount helps, and I thank all who read this. This pageant is incredibly beneficial to me, but also to my sponsors."

Community pride can be a powerful tool in events like this. I asked Debra how she would feel about representing Salem and North Salem High before the entire state.

"I feel incredible. As far as I know, Salem, our state's very own capital, has never had a winner from the area and I think we're about due! My high school is also known as being fairly 'ghetto', I want to represent my city and my school and show what I have to offer, and what we have to offer."

Ghetto or not, this contestant believes she has the right stuff to win Miss Oregon 2009. She described what she considers to be her winning points.

"I think I've got some of the strongest attributes a girl can have. I juggle with the harsh reality of everyday life."

She says her modeling background includes turn downs, and she believes experiencing rejection strengthens a person and causes them to strive and work at an even higher level.

"I know what it's like to be denied and I have learned to overcome it. I'm not perfect, girls these days aren't looking for someone perfect to look up to, they'll never feel matched up, they're looking for a role model that has problems, has acne, but has learned to overcome it and become stronger each time. I'm on top of my game all the time, and I'm a strong role model, I know I'm qualified to be the 2009 Miss Oregon Teen USA."

The ambitions of this Salem student are competitive by their own right. Debra is not setting out for a mundane career by any means. She plans to be a nurse that helps people in far reaching areas.

"I want to become a travel nurse to really help others, it's really the only fulfilling thing I can see myself doing in life. I don't want to work for teen vogue, what am I really going to get done there that will help anyone? Nothing. By becoming a travel nurse, or maybe even doctor, I know I'll be bettering myself as an individual as well as benefiting the people around me."

In the end, she says it is about being able to put something back in life; and recognizing the advantages she has been offered.

"I've had, and am leading a great life, partially because of what's been offered to me, what I've been born with. I know there are others out there less fortunate than me and I want to spend a lifetime helping them."

She hopes her passion to succeed attracts the sponsorship needed to compete in the special event, and she says she is willing to meet in person with potential sponsors.

"Because only then will you really see and hear my drive, my passion and me as a human being."

She says any sponsor will receive their name in the program book at the pageant.

"And any money donation made is tax-deductible as a business expense for advertising. I'm more than happy to make personal appearances at your company, do some modeling or signings before or after the pageant. I'm heading into this pageant expecting to win, I'm giving it all I have and any sponsor choosing to back me will benefit. Never will you find another pageant delegate as grateful and driven as I am."

Debra Brown can be reached at NOTE: Please keep story comments tasteful!

Here is a collection of images of Debra Brown in a slideshow presentation:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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megan July 16, 2009 9:06 am (Pacific time)

yay debra got 1st runner up i love my teen!

someone January 13, 2009 7:15 pm (Pacific time)

huh i didnt know she was a model well deb if you see this study for finals their in 2 weeks, be smart to complete your goal. and i gotta say you look good in those pics

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