Shelby County resident to kick off Miss America pageant

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen Mi’a Callens will sing her own rendition of the National Anthem during the Miss America preliminary competition on Jan. 9.

Mi’a Callens was named Miss Jefferson County Outstanding Teen in March before proceeding to winning the state title in August in Orlando, Fla.

Mi'a Callens

“She won second runner up out of 53 contestants and states that were represented,” said Mi’a Callens’ mother, Cassandra Callens. “She won a preliminary talent award for her group. She also was chosen top five out of all the girls for community service.”

After performing in the competition, the Miss America board members chose three contestants to perform at the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas Jan. 10-14.

“Lo and behold, and thank God, Mia was one of the ones chosen,” Cassandra Callens said. “It’s been such an honor and a blessing. She is constantly asking herself how she’s getting chosen for all these things.”

The Callens family will fly out with Mi’a on Jan. 9 and attend each night of the Miss America competition. Mi’a will perform the National Anthem during the opening night of the competition on Jan. 10. On Jan. 11, Mi’a will perform with the other Miss America Outstanding Teen finalists.

“She’s excited,” Cassandra Callens said. “She was saying it’s more of an exciting energy more so than nervous energy.”

According to Cassandra Callens, the only television broadcast of the pageant will be on Saturday, Jan. 14 for the final rounds. Anyone interested can visit Missamerica.com to follow coverage throughout the week.

The family will see the sights each day before the pageant starts each evening, Cassandra Callens said. The family will return to Alabama on Thursday, Jan. 12, as Mi’a and her sister will be performing at a show choir competition for a class grade.

Mi’a, a senior at Oak Mountain High School, has been awarded $15,000 in college scholarships through the Miss Outstanding Teen program. While she’s currently considering the University of Alabama, she’s still looking at Auburn University, according to her mother. Mi’a plans on studying broadcast journalism, and then becoming a dermatologist.

“She wants to have her own talk show eventually,” Cassandra Callens said. It’ll be about building people as far as self-esteem, confidence and poise, to help them love themselves and have a skin line product to offer to go along with that.”