North Texas Daily

Pursuing a diploma and a crown: UNT student juggles university life and pageantry

Pursuing a diploma and a crown: UNT student juggles university life and pageantry

Pursuing a diploma and a crown: UNT student juggles university life and pageantry
January 15
17:54 2019

For 19-year-old Hannah Minch, the racks of elegant sequin gowns at Shimmer Boutique are familiar territory. She is no stranger to the pageant and prom shop, which serves as the official gown sponsor for winners of the Miss Dallas Teen pageant. Today’s visit is casual, requiring nothing more than her outfit comprised of a black turtleneck and dark-wash jeans.

On other days, she plays a larger role as a pageant queen, spending hours in gown fittings, hair and makeup lessons, and interview coaching sessions.

“I really love big events,” Hannah said. “That’s why I love pageants so much. Everything is so extra, like just walking through the lobby you change into a cocktail dress.”

The blonde Lake Dallas local is quick to gush about her passion for pageants, her excitement apparent through bright green eyes and an ever-present smile. She balances pageantry with her life as a public relations freshman at UNT, the same school that her parents and older sister attended.

Hannah began participating in pageants for fun at age 16. She said it was never about winning, but the victory-driven culture soon became a reality for the then-employed Sonic carhop. The fourth pageant she participated in was Miss Dallas Teen 2018, where her interview, activewear and gown earned her the crown as a then high school senior.

Her father, Andrew Minch, said Hannah’s natural go-getter personality has helped her to enter the pageant world with relative ease. 

“She’s always been kind of a self-starter, a kid who’s always looking for the next thing to do,” Andrew said. “She’s never been afraid to get up in front of others to speak, so from that standpoint, I think it was a pretty easy transition for her.”

A major component of pageantry is the financial cost. With the price of pageant entry, gowns and outfits, makeup products and beauty lessons, she estimates that a typical pageant costs between $5,000 and $6,000. She said having a sponsor and reusing items from previous pageants helps her to save money.

“Since I’ve done so many [pageants], I have interview outfits so I don’t need to buy a new one every pageant,” Hannah said. “I have heels, so I don’t need to buy a new pair. I always get a new gown, though, just because I’m a little superstitious, I guess.”

The price of pageants includes not just money, but time, as much of Hannah’s daily routine centers around practice and training. A typical day for Hannah

consists of heading to Dallas for an early morning workout, attending class or completing homework, meeting with her interview coach, and practicing walks and poses at home. Hannah said she tries to practice for at least two hours during her Tuesday and Thursday class days and for at least five hours during her days off. 

She said the practice is not just about smiling and looking pretty. Hannah also trains to become a more educated and socially responsible member of her community.

“That’s what’s really cool about pageants,” Hannah said. “It’s a lot of girls who are like-minded and want to do more and want to make the world a better place. A lot of them are either really involved in charities or they have their own.”

Hannah belongs to the latter of those groups. She started Hannah’s Gifts of Hope during her senior year of high school, inspired by one of her mentees from a peer mentor program. Hannah began collecting Bibles, devotionals and other uplifting items to personalize and donate to women’s shelters.

Gowns hang at Shimmer Boutique in Lewisville.
Paige Bruneman

Contributing to the community extends beyond her charity, however. Public relations junior Sheridon Evans, a friend and sorority sister, described Hannah as someone who always builds others up.

“Hannah is two or three years younger than me, and she’s taught me so much about how to be confident in myself and feel good in my own body,” Evans said. “I think she can really just provide a lot of motivation and support and guidance to other girls.”

Hannah said she is aware of the outside world’s negative perception of pageantry, and she once held that same perception. After getting involved, however, she said she realized it was more than what television shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras” make it out to be. 

“It’s really empowering for women,” Hannah said. “I know a lot of people see it as just girls standing in a swimsuit, not really doing anything, but these women know what’s going on. They have their own opinion, they have active plans on what they want to do to make the world a better place.”

Her involvement has also influenced her father’s perception of pageantry. He said he realized pageants help develop self-confidence, improve public speaking skills and educate girls on important topics.

“When you’re in those organizations, you realize how supportive [members] are of each other,” Andrew said. “It really does grow a lot of the skills that I think are necessary to be successful in life.”

Pageants have provided her with women to draw inspiration from and a platform to catalyze her own personal growth. She said for the three years she has participated in pageants during, she has developed her maturity, discipline, time management skills and prioritiy-setting.

For now, her long-term pageant goals include training for Miss Texas USA, which she hopes to take on in the next few years, and making her charity an official nonprofit. 

“Knowing Hannah kind of made me realize that [pageant women] are people who really care about others and have drive and goals for themselves other than just a crown or a title,” Evans said.

As pageant events come to a close, Hannah’s sash and gown come off, but the poise and integrity that earned her the crown are always on display. She said she understands while winning Miss Texas USA would be a massive accomplishment, her life means more than a title.

“If I win, great,” Hannah said. “If I lose, that’s OK because I understand that I’m here for something greater.”

Featured Image: Hannah Minch, 19, poses at Shimmer Boutique in Lewisville. Minch began participating in pageants at 16 and currently holds the title of Miss Dallas Teen 2018. Paige Bruneman. 

About Author

Haley Arnold

Haley Arnold

Related Articles

1 Comment

  1. mintaslanxor
    mintaslanxor January 16, 11:38

    Word on the street is that she’d like to work towards world peace and eradicate poverty.

    Reply to this comment

Write a Comment

Click here to cancel reply.

Search Bar

Social Media

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
Junior wideout Jaelon Darden headlines as Conference USA announces All-Conference selectionshttps://t.co/sJcrQqgejg
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @jazwriteswords: My last game covering women’s basketball for the Daily 👍🏽 https://t.co/kbJtr0JccT
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
Letter from the Editor: Becky is signing out@RebeccaNajera42 's time as our Editor-in-Chief has come to an end.… https://t.co/Lj51rzLvhD
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
A Q&A with athletic director Wren Baker (@wrenbaker)by @ZacharyACottamhttps://t.co/6Q3BVD0SJH
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
ICYMI: Women's basketball holds off the Ragin Cajuns, win 69-66by @jazwriteswordshttps://t.co/yxVsRwMSo4
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad