Pageant Planet


Alayah Benavidez: The Bachelor, Miss Texas USA, Miss United States

Alayah Benavidez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Growing up, Alayah’s ambitions did not know any limits. Dreams of becoming a professional model, pageant queen, author and professor were never just dreams to her, they were something she could make a reality.

We all know that most pageant queen success stories do not come without some sort of hardship along the way. In high school, Benavidez was diagnosed with dyslexia and was told she should switch her classes to get additional help, and that she should expect a change in her grades. While these professionals probably had good intentions with telling Alayah the reality of what her expectations should be, this simply did not fit into Alayah’s mindset.

Dyslexia could have been the disability that held Alayah back, but instead to propelled her forward, stronger and more determined than ever. Her life motto then became, “work smarter and strive harder.” This helped her excel in AP and dual credit classes.

Alayah knows how important reading and writing is to help children in their academic success. This is what inspired her to develop a literacy program for children called ‘Read The Way.’ A common saying that Alayah promotes is, “if you read today, you can lead tomorrow.”

In August 2016, Alayah Benavidez captured the title of Miss United States 2016. Miss United States is a national pageant that celebrates women of all walks of life. It empowers its contestants and titleholders to be good and give back to those less fortunate. The pageant has eight age categories where the contestants compete in typical pageant phases of competition including a private interview, swimwear or sportswear, evening gown and on-stage question. 

Her experience as Miss United States gathered a large fanbase for her next expedition, Miss Texas USA 2019.

To hear more about the life of Ava Hill and to discover coaching moments inside of her story listen to this week’s podcast.

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Ava Hill: Miss International, Tattoos, The Voice

"Ava Hill” is a 22-year-old from Kindred, North Dakota. Ava is truly the ‘girl-next-door.’ She enjoys spending time with her family, watching Netflix, snuggling with her cat named Pringles and drinking coffee. She likes to start off each morning with a cup of coffee…. Or five.Although she has made her way to the top of the pageant world you won’t typically find her wearing heels, but you can always find her with a book or in the dance studio. She enjoys coaching her former dance team, the Kindred Vikettes. Dance is not the only thing that Ava is talented in though.At the age of 15, Ava auditioned for ‘The Voice.’ She is also a guitarist and a music writer. Ava’s artistic talents spill over into her professional life as a makeup artist. At the age of 19 she graduated from Faces etc. of Minnesota. She is now a business owner of Ava Hill Artistry. She has also won several awards as a makeup artist. Ava thinks that the most important piece of makeup is lipstick, and that a look is never complete without it!The business world of makeup is not always as glamorous as it may seem. Ava travels mostly within North Dakota, Minnesota and California for a variety of events. Many days are spent doing administration work including writing scripts, writing invoices, scheduling and spending time sending out emails.She got engaged to the love of her life, Grant Harner, on September 28, 2019.Ava’s pageant journey began in the beginning stages of her recovery. Her mother suggested that it may be a good idea to help her gain self-esteem and create purpose in her life. Ava’s mother is a former Miss North Dakota International as well. Ava did not see this for herself. At the time she had purple and grey hair, piercings and tattoos. Not the ‘typical look’ for a pageant girl in her mind.In just two years, to her surprise, she won the title of Miss North Dakota International 2019. Through this journey she became a published journalist, a nominee for Woman of the Year, a worldwide ambassador and received the opportunity to compete internationally for the first time in her life.To hear more about the life of Ava Hill and to discover coaching moments inside of her story listen to this week’s podcast.Because you are interested in this episode you might also be interested in:Shopping for Pageant Dresses233 Free Pageant Interview Questions

Zozibini Tunzi: Miss Universe, South Africa, Model

Zozibini Tunzi was born in Tolso Eastern Cape located in South Africa. Here she grew up with her parents and three other sisters. She is the second oldest of her siblings.Zozi grew up close with her family and considered her parents her role models.“My mother taught me the importance of being kind and humble and always helpful to those around me and my father taught me the importance of education, hard work, and discipline.”Growing up some of Zozi’s hobbies included hiking, cooking, and watching her favourite television shows. If you’re doing these hobbies right now, maybe you can also be the next Miss Universe? Surely she didn’t know at those moments what she was destined to become.Zozi grew up truly just like any other woman might have. She loves watching Marvel movies and Game of Thrones.She attended Cape Peninsula University of Technology and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Image Management in 2018. Zozi worked as a graduate intern in the public relations department of Ogilvy Cape Town.She also went on to complete a Bachelor of TechnologyZozi’s love for education most likely came from her parent as her mother is a school principal and her father works at the Department of Higher Learning in Pretoria.Aside from getting her post-secondary education, Zozi also worked as a model in East London, Eastern Cape.In 2018, Zozi entered the reality TV show Presenter Search. She was unsuccessful in this venture, but there were other ways she was meant to be in the spotlight.Listen to today’s episode to learn more about Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi.