Originally Posted: August 27, 2022
By: David Papannah
Channelling the morals and values taught to her by her Guyanese parents-Debbie and Andre Khan-in the question and answer segment of the Miss Teen Florida competition back in May, 18-year-old Alyssa Khan walked away with the crown and is now set to compete on the national stage at Miss Teen USA.
She boldly drew from experiences growing up and confidently answered her questions to secure her first win in pageantry.
Alyssa, a Guyanese, by parentage, is gearing up to compete against 50 other teenage girls in Las Vegas, Nevada with the hope of being crowned the next Miss Teen USA. The pageant will be held at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino on October 1.
In a recent interview with The Scene, the young beauty queen who is passionate about financial literacy, explained that she plans to use her Guyanese upbringing during the pageant to her advantage.
She related that those lessons have shaped her to be the individual she is today and have given her a unique perspective on her life and topical issues that are important to her. “Being raised Guyanese is a huge part of me, and I am so glad I had that upbringing… I think the way I was raised definitely plays a part in the way I present myself…,” she said. Stroking her curly locks, she jokingly related, “I love my roots, it gave me this hair!”
But while she values her Guyanese upbringing, the new comer to pageantry said that identifying herself as Guyanese was difficult in a community that knows little about the country. “…Kids used to make fun of the name Guyana,” she recalled. “When I would tell them that my parents are from Guyana, they were like what’s Guyana? They just didn’t know. But growing up, I got to learn, hearing more about the culture, talking to my parents about how they were raised and stuff like that…”
As she learned, through her parents, grandparents, and her extended family, she said, she has been able to educate those unaware of the country. “I think being Guyanese is special because I feel it is something people haven’t seen much of in pageantry and I plan to showcase that,” she stressed. She plans to use the platform to be an ambassador for Guyana throughout the pageant.
In the Miss Teen Florida pageant’s question and answer segment, she was asked two questions: her first was, “What can a person do to improve themselves?” The second question was based on whether parents should have control over their child’s social media account.
“And my answer was that what a person can do is learn to live for themselves and not anybody else. And I think in the moment I really was speaking from my heart because I went through a time, I think everyone went through a time where they weren’t confident in who they were,” she related. “I know I felt so skinny. I was like, oh my gosh my arms are so skinny and people would make comments and stuff like that, but I let it affect me so much to the point that I just wasn’t happy in my body. But you know, it takes time to be able to learn that whatever those people say does not matter.”
To the second question, she responded, “… So many things happen online that kids don’t feel comfortable telling their parents … A lot of things happen online that people are so comfortable when they can hide their face behind a screen and so they’ll say whatever they want. So I think it’s important for parents to monitor their young kids on social media.”
The aspiring model and financial instructor described herself as an individual who values family and loves making people smile. These characteristics won her the Miss Congeniality and most photogenic awards in the Miss Teen Florida pageant.
Behind her brilliant smile and charming personality, “I’m just a girl who loves being with her family and I love making people smile. I think those two things are two of the biggest parts of who I am. My family and just being a good person and I would like to think I’ve been able to touch everybody that I’ve met so far on this journey, and really make a difference,” she underscored.
Even with the new title and exposure to a different lifestyle, Alyssa, a firm believer in Jesus Christ, said she sees herself as a normal person living a completely normal life. She is working to balance school and the events leading up to the national pageant. This has been a bit overwhelming at times, but she constantly remembers to take a breather when it gets too tough.
Alyssa said she was an avid basketball player. Though she no longer plays the sport, she remains a big fan and would catch up on games or play video games with her siblings when it gets too overwhelming.
While there are many perks to winning the coveted title, she said she wishes to raise awareness for Nourishing Lives, an organisation she volunteers with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The organisation is dedicated to providing families with meals on the weekends. She said volunteering at the organisation has exposed her to the vulnerabilities some children deal with daily.
“I would like to win because that gives me an even greater platform to be able to help build on my earning organisation. I would love to expand it. I think that’s something that is so important because it’s true. I mean, you give kids food during the week but on the weekends, you don’t know what happens to those families who are struggling. So I think it would be great to expand,” she said.
For the national pageant, she has the preliminary competition and one and one interviews with the judges. She is looking to secure the People’s Choice Award as it will ultimately guarantee her a spot in the Top 16 of the pageant which is considered the semi-finals.
The public can assist her by voting for her. Each vote cost US$2. Persons can visit the Miss Teen USA website https://missteenusa.com/teen-contestants/ and cast their vote under her name.
Source: Stabroek News