Tessa Snow says she's a girly girl, but she grew up playing in the dirt with her two older brothers.
Participating in a beauty pageant seemed like a fun, girly-girl kind of thing to do, so she did her first one last summer.
'I just did it as kind of a bucket list item, ' she said. 'I just wanted to cross it off to say I did it. '
So when she won homecoming queen at Palmer High School and was invited to the America's homecoming queen pageant, she decided to go for it. She could win scholarship money and a free trip to Memphis, Tenn., if she did well, and it sounded like fun. Colorado Springs High School/Palmer Alumni Association covered her sponsorship fee, about $275, and she headed to Golden on April 28 to compete against other Colorado homecoming queens.
The national competition will be July 20 to 24, and Snow will have two chances to win scholarship money. Judges will choose America's homecoming queen, but the American public will be able to vote online to choose America's favorite homecoming queen. Votes cost $1 apiece, and people can vote as many times as they'd like. The money goes toward scholarships for finals participants, and everyone will get at least a small scholarship. The amount is determined by success.
The pageant is more for the 'girl-next-door ' type than the seasoned debutante, Snow said. There's no swimsuit or talent competition, but judges asked her a lot of interesting questions during a private interview. Among them, if she could break a law, which would she break?
'I said I would go to a foreign country, because I don't have a passport, ' Snow said.
Skydiving, visiting every state in the U.S., traveling the world and joining a sorority in college are on Snow's bucket list, too, and she's crossed off flying a plane and a few other things.
'I started this bucket list when I was probably 13 years old because I saw the movie 'The Bucket List,' ' she said. 'I've actually accomplished a lot on it. '
When she's not out adventuring, Snow works two jobs an average of 10-15 hours a week in addition to being student body vice president, graduating in the top 10 percent of her class and volunteering when she can. She was awarded a Daniels Fund scholarship, which will pay for college costs not covered by financial aid and other grants, just a few days before she won the pageant, so it was a good week for her.
'I was going to basically pay for all of school myself, ' Snow said.
Snow's mother, Katha, said she's very proud of her daughter and excited for her opportunity to travel to Memphis for the competition. She'll be wearing the same dress she wore to prom, a pink mermaid-style dress she's in love with.
'We splurged on this prom dress and I thought, 'Oh this is so silly,' ' Katha Snow said. 'Now she'll be able to wear it four times. It's fun that she's the kind of girl that would wear a dress more than once. She makes it real easy to be a mom. '