Meet our Cover Kids winner ThanhCat Ho, who goes by Cat. She's a 9-year-old pageant queen from Fredericksburg. One of the coolest things about the pageant she's participating in is that it's not focused on beauty and presentation. Instead, the pageant focuses on character and it teaches participants soft skills that can be used throughout their entire lives. She and her mother, Donna Tran, share about the pageant process.
What is the pageant you're going to be competing in and how did you hear about it?
Cat: This is going to be my first year in being in a pageant. I'm competing in the National American Miss.
Donna: We first heard of the company through her cheerleader friends. The National American Miss is through nomination only and we had someone write a letter. You have to have great grades and be an active student. They filter to see if you qualify to be a finalist for the state. She was nominated and selected to be the Virginia finalist. If you get a letter, that's how you know.
Does the pageant require that you have a platform?
DT: [The pageant] wants you to be active in your community through whatever cause you support. It's not about beauty, but your background. There is no image of her [that they see before selection]; they judge by recommendation and the documentation. So they don't care about your looks or your size.
What preparation goes into pageant readiness?
DT: The only material thing that we have to get her is a pageant gown. You have to be mentally ready. She is practicing her introduction speech. She's going to have a few career-like interviews. So she has to work on her speaking skills.
Cat: There is also a talent show. I'm working on something for it. It has no [criteria]; it can be anything.
What lessons do you learn by participating in pageants?
Cat: Confidence and speaking skills for interviews.
What are your hobbies?
Cat: I like to draw, craft, write sometimes and sing. I also like cheerleading, playing instruments, mountain biking, gymnastics, swimming, jazz piano and playing recorder.
DT: She loves crafting and creates a lot of her own DIY crafts. She's good with tutorials on YouTube.
What are your favorite subjects in school?
Cat: I really enjoy history. I enjoy learning all of the new facts. I like Abraham Lincoln. I like how he ended slavery like no other president.
How about your favorite movie and why you like it?
Cat: I like Big Hero 6. I love how family and friends just help each other.
Who is your favorite music artist?
Cat: Taylor Swift
What advice can you share with girls who want to do pageants?
Cat: Always smile, be yourself and have fun. Breathe.