Many Utahns didn't realize until Keilara McCormick was crowned that Utah had not yet had a black Miss Utah Teen USA. But that was a fact, until 17-year-old McCormick took on the title and the crown.
Keilara McCormick is a senior at American Fork High School and lives in Lehi. She loves playing the violin, which she's been doing for ten years, and she also loves to cook, dance and snowboard. "Hanging out with friends" is also high on the list. Keilara loves sports, is on both the soccer and track teams at her school, and has helped coach youth soccer camps during summer months. She works hard at school, listing her favorite subjects as AP History, Art, Arabic and English, and she dreams of one day designing her own shoe line.
With a clearly full plate, Keilara was surprised when a friend told her she should compete in the Miss Teen Utah pageant, which was just a month away. She'd never competed before, didn't necessarily know how well she'd do, but always up for new things, she agreed and got to work.
Of the surprising new adventure, Keilara says, "I never thought I would do this, but I've loved it. It's an amazing feeling, knowing people are watching you represent your city, state, who you are. You can be the best you can be, and you walk out onto that stage feeling like a million bucks."
Keilara is concerned about the effects that bullying has had, and continues to have, on today's youth. She works with an anti-bullying campaign to bring attention and assistance to the problem. With cyber-bullying now a cruel reality, people and families everywhere are being affected. Keilara believes this is one problem we can fix, and works hard to help get the ball rolling in Utah.
As for Keilara being the first black Miss Utah Teen USA, her mom Julie wasn't surprised.
"It's so fitting that she is the first African-American to win the Utah pageant," she said. "She's so confident, and so influential. She's always been the one people watch, and it makes me proud to see her using her influence for good, and to improve the world."
Utah should be proud, as well. Keilara is a great example of what many teens in today's society seem to be missing- ambition, goals and a strong work ethic. And with all she's got going on, she stays grounded and confident.
"I may be in heels, but at the end of the day, I miss my combat boots," Keilara says. "It's all about being comfortable with who you are."