Zion girl, 16, to compete for Miss Teen Chicago
By Judy Masterson firstname.lastname@example.org | @JudyReport October 23, 2013 12:53PM
Niah Sproul, 16, a junior at Zion-Benton Township High School, will compete in the Miss Teen Chicago pageant to be held Sunday, Oct. 27, at Roosevelt High School in Chicago. Sproul plays trombone and is also assistant drum major for her school's marching band.| Submitted photo
Updated: November 25, 2013 12:58PM
Niah Sproul, 16, plays trombone − not a talent usually on display in the ultra feminine world of beauty pageants.
A junior at Zion-Benton Township High School and a member of the school’s marching band, Sproul never saw herself gliding down a runway in high heels. But when a letter arrived in the mail Oct. 1 from Miss Teen Chicago with the news that someone had recommended her for the competition, she paused to give it some thought.
“My mom was like ‘Go for it!,’” said Sproul, using a warbly voice to convey her mother’s enthusiasm.
After an interview with a pageant coordinator at Rosemont, Niah, the daughter of Toya and David Sproul of Zion, was accepted for the Miss Teen division of the competition, which will be held Sunday, Oct. 27, at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago. Contenders ages 7 to 19 will put their personalities and interviewing skills to the test before a panel of judges. They will also compete in modeling routines, wearing their choice of casual and formal wear.
“This is not based on looks or appearance, but your personality, how you are around other people,” Sproul said. “Not ‘My gosh. She’s so beautiful, she should win.’”
The pageant’s organizers insist personality is the number one aspect in all phases of the competition, and Sproul, a bubbly teen who likes to laugh and loves to sing, is sure hers will shine through, even in her choice of clothes.
The casual outfit she has chosen for the competition shows her fun and relaxed side: flannel shirt, blue jeans jacket, maxi skirt and cowboy boots.
“I’m going to carry my trombone to represent my passion for music,” Sproul said.
Her choice for formal wear is young and simple: a long gown beaded with rhinestones and pearls at the neckline.
Niah is the oldest of four children, including twin sisters and a brother, which may be why she exudes confidence and maturity. Last January, she auditioned for the reality TV competition “The Voice” and she had to sing in a noisy, crowded room.
“They told me I was really good and asked If I’d ever done anything like this before,” said Sproul, who didn’t make the cut, but is proud that she tried.
“I’m outgoing,” she said. “I’m not afraid to talk to people, not afraid to stand out and be myself.”
The winner of the Miss Teen Chicago title will take an all-expense-paid, six-day trip to a national competition in Orlando, Florida, to vie for more than $30,000 in prizes and awards.
Niah is also a member of the ZBTHS Wind Ensemble, assistant drum major for the ZBTHS marching band and member of Sister to Sister, a group of African American girls who do charity work. She plans to attend college to study law.
Why the trombone? “The sax was too heavy and I couldn’t play the flute,” she said.
“The trombone has a good sound and my uncle plays it.”