KENDALLVILLE, Ind. – For the second time in three years, both Miss Indiana and Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen hail from Kendallville. It serves as quite a feat for a town with just less than 10,000 people, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.
“We have had a lot of success,” Lydia Tremaine, Miss Indiana 2018, says. “We’ve had five Miss Indiana's Outstanding Teens, and I’m the third Miss Indiana from Kendallville.”
Tremaine, 20, qualified for the June competition in Zionsville after winning Miss Fort Wayne. She says she has looked up to Miss Indiana through meeting previous title-holders at Kendallville’s Apple Festivals. And while her own path to the crown has been difficult, she adds persistence was key.
“I didn’t even make it my first year, I couldn’t score a local title,” she says. “To now be that woman that girls look up to blows my mind.” “I hope to show young girls that it’s not about a crown and a sash. It’s about what you do with this voice that matters.”
Tremaine was member of show choir and theater department at East Noble High School, from where she graduated in 2016. Her platform is Act Now: Keeping the Arts Alive, which advocates for more funding for fine arts in public schools. She will take her love of the arts--and her singing talent--to the Miss America competition in September.
“I hope to show young girls that it’s not about a crown and a sash. It’s about what you do with this voice that matters.”
Jenna Zabona is one of those young Hoosier girls following in Tremaine’s footsteps. Zabona, a junior-to-be at East Noble, won Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen earlier this summer. Zabona has danced and done gymnastics since she was a child, and joined the East Noble girls track & field team as a pole vaulter last spring. She also participates in 4-H; and has been part of the Miss America Organization since she was 11, and served as Miss Metropolitan Outstanding Teen prior to winning the state competition.
“What I would say to young girls is go for it,” Zabona says. “Some girls are afraid they’re not the pageant type, or aren’t ready to do all those pageants. I think if they go for it and get themselves involved, they won’t regret it.”
Zabona is competing at the Miss America's Outstanding Teen, for girls between the ages of 13 and 17, this week in Orlando. Her platform is support for the U.S. military.
The Miss America Organization started in 1921. In addition to its national, state and local pageants, young girls across the United States earn scholarships for academics and community service.
“The four points of the crown are style, scholarship, service and success,” AnnaBella Brown, Miss Northern Lakes' Outstanding Teen 2019, says. “I think one of the most important is service.”
Brown, 14, of LaOtto, logged 400 hours of volunteer work last year. In addition to holding her current title through next June, she was Miss Great Lakes Outstanding Teen 2018. Brown, who had a perfect 4.0 grade point average and perfect attendance for all three years at East Noble Middle School, earned the Outstanding Teen Scholastic Achievement Award at state competition. Brown earned the prestigious Malone Scholarship to Canterbury High School, where she will play soccer and run cross country and track. She also plays soccer at Fort Wayne Sport Club and futsal with the Fort Wayne Phoenix. Her platform is foster care awareness.
"Be confident in yourself, and go for it," Brown says. "Don’t give up. Keep doing it over and over again. Regardless if you win or not, you’re going to have so much fun and meet so many people.”
The success Tremaine, Zabona and Brown have had in years of competitions will no doubt translate later in life. Tremaine wants to be a teacher, Zabona has plans to be a physical therapist and Brown is interested in either becoming a cardiologist or neurologist.
Miss Indiana Lydia Tremaine
Miss Indiana's Outstanding Teen Jenna Zabona
Miss Northern Lakes' Outstanding Teen AnnaBella Brown