BARRINGTON – A Barrington teenager will compete in the Miss Illinois Teen USA competition next month.
Barrington High School junior Isabella Rojas, will head to Skokie for the competition, slated for Aug. 29 through Sept. 1.
When the Rojas family received information about the competition in the mail, Jacqueline Rojas asked her daughter if she was interested in applying, never thinking she would actually say yes because her daughter isn’t your typical girly-girl. In fact, her 15-year-old daughter doesn’t wear make-up or even have her ears pierced.
“I never really thought I’d get accepted to be a contestant,” Isabella said.
When the call came in, Isabella didn’t recognize the phone number, so she let it go to voicemail. When she listened to the message accepting her in to the competition, she started screaming.
“I was really excited,” she said, adding she will compete under the Greater Barrington title.
In addition to the Greater Barrington title, Isabella said there are teens competing under the Barrington Hills title and Inverness titles. The winner of this pageant will go on to represent Illinois in the Miss Teen USA competition.
“I’m just looking forward to meeting the girls and making new friends and connections,” Isabella said.
To prepare for the pageant, Isabella has had to learn to use makeup and walk in heels. She has also been exercising to prepare her body physically, while also working on her posture. Isabella has prepared mentally by guessing questions she might be asked during the interview portion and thinking about her answers.
Her mother has been a big help, taking her shopping and working with her on her posture, make-up application and helping her pick out her outfits for the pageant. Jacqueline Rojas competed in the pageant herself in 1989, under the Inverness title.
“I think I was probably more nervous than Isabella is,” she laughed.
She did acknowledge the pageant helped her learn how to present herself, something she thinks will also benefit her daughter.
“I think her just learning (how to present herself) at an early age is going to help her in the long run,” Jacqueline Rojas said.
There are costs associated with the pageant. Beyond just the registration and entry fees, Isabella has to have a swimsuit, evening gown and interview outfit for the competition. To help fund her journey to become Miss Illinois Teen, she has started a GoFundMe page.
Isabella remains quite active both in school and out. She is an honor student and member of the Barrington High School varsity water polo team.
“Just being able to do well puts me in a higher position for getting into a good college,” she said of her academic successes.
During the spring season, she dedicates about 15 hours each week to water polo, a sport her father once played.
“I feel it’s a good mix of exercise and having fun,” she said. “Plus, it’s a team sport, which I like.”
Outside of school, Isabella has been studying martial arts at Barrington Martial Arts since she was 6. She is now a third degree black belt. She also is a volunteer assistant teacher at the studio.
“I just feel like it’s a stress-reliever and I just think it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Isabella has also played piano since she was 8, taking private lessons since she was about 11.
“It’s just something I look forward to in a day, just sitting down on the bench and playing something from my head,” she said.
School is her main focus though, knowing she needs to do well to be able to study speech pathology and music or music therapy in college.
To make a donation to Isabella’s journey to the title, visit gofundme.com/afncko.