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Klahowya teen strives for pageant excellence

Miss Junior Teen Washington Farrell Tally, an eighth-grader at Klahowya Secondary School, is preparing to compete at the national level for the title of Miss Junior Teen America.   - Courtesy photo
Miss Junior Teen Washington Farrell Tally, an eighth-grader at Klahowya Secondary School, is preparing to compete at the national level for the title of Miss Junior Teen America.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Klahowya Secondary School eighth-grader Farrell Tally is ready to take the nation by storm as she prepares to compete in Miss Junior Teen America in two weeks.

“I’m excited,” Tally said with a smile.

Crowned Miss Junior Teen Washington last spring, 13-year-old Tally is trying to live an average teenage life. Involved in soccer, junior varsity cheerleading and the Associated Student Body at KSS, she is often split between games, spirit events and meetings.

“I do a whole mess of community service,” she added. “My favorite is the Salvation Army.”

Urged by friends to apply for the Miss Junior Teen Pageant program, Tally said she was unsure at first. With additional support from her close friend Ricky, Tally competed at the state competition in Olympia and won, building a love for pageantry.

“At first I wasn’t so sure about it,” Tally said. “But when I started trying it, I fell in love with it.”

After winning at the state level, Tally is preparing to compete at the national level, taking place in Windsor Locks, Conn. Practicing walking in high heels and her talent, which is singing “Colors of the Wind” by Judy Kuhn, Tally said these are the two main aspects of the competition she is focusing on right now.

Although the world of pageants may seem like extravagant dresses and tricky talents, Tally’s platform, teen rape, packs a powerful and emotional message she hopes to get out.

“From hearing from other people, and from a personal experience, I’ve realized how important this is,” she added. “Even if I don’t place, if I can touch at least 100 people and get the message out ... I’ll feel successful.”

Tally’s mother Tracy said she has made a complete 180 turnaround from the year before.

“This has been really good for her,” Tracy Tally added. “Anything that will help her, I’m good with.”

With a difficult topic to uphold and publicly speak about, Tally faces her own difficulties overcoming Tourette’s syndrome, something she has been diagnosed with since the second grade. Causing her to make involuntary vocal tics when nervous, Tally said having to speak publicly has helped her control the disability.

“I’ve learned to control it because of the pageant,” she said. “I’ve gained confidence.”

Tally added that it will be difficult competing against pageant veterans.

“Seeing all these other girls who have done pageants (will be hard), I’m all alone working on this,” she added with a laugh.

Drawing inspiration from former Miss Washington and KSS grad Kristen Eddings, Tally said she feels a sisterly connection.

“In the pageant world, I consider her my big sister,” she said. “(Eddings) influences me quite a bit.”

Leaving a day early for the national competition to relax, which is from Oct. 26 to 28, Tally said she is excited to travel to a place she’s never been before. Heading to the competition with both her mother and grandmother, Tally said she’s excited because she knows her mom will provide honest advice.

“She’ll be completely honest,” she added. “She doesn’t push me (to do pageants) but she really helps me and give me advice.”

With her eye on the title of Miss Junior Teen America, if Tally wins, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied toward college, magazine photo shoots, multiple appearances across the nation and the possibility of international travel.

“We’re pretty impressed that she’s willing to go that far (with her platform) and push the envelope,” Tracy said, adding that they are proud of their daughter regardless if she places or not. “We’re proud of her either way.”

Tally is accepting donations to help pay for her trip to the Miss Junior Teen America Pageant. Donations can be made at any Bank of America location, where Tally has a bank account set up in her name. For more information, contact Tracy Tally at (360) 620-6174.

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