MARQUETTE - Brooke Brauer will be putting in some hard work during the coming months, getting ready to compete in the Miss Michigan Teen USA pageant.
But one aspect of the effort she especially looks forward.
Miss Upper Peninsula Teen USA and her court pose for a shot at the pageant March 22. From the left: Tayler Smith of Marquette, first runner up; Brooke Brauer of Marquette, winner; and Marja Balconi of Michigamme, second runner up. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Wiles Photography)
Miss Upper Peninsula USA 2013 Taylor Kulju congratulates Brauer as she is crowned Miss Upper Peninsula Teen USA 2014. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Wiles Photography)
The Marquette Senior High School junior won the Miss Upper Peninsula Teen USA crown March 22 and has hit the ground running in preparing for the state level of participation with the help of her coach, Samantha Collins.
"My coach is a huge help," Brauer said. "She went over wardrobe with me. She showed me how to stand and how to present myself. And she talked about making good lifestyle choices. In my position, I should be a role model.
"Plus she was a big help in evening gown shopping," Brauer added with a smile.
The daughter of Shelley Brauer and Edward Brauer, Brooke has two brothers, Edward and Matthew. Also cheering her on are her grandparents, Bruce and Marilyn Bellmer, who reside in Brandon, Wis., and Sophie Brauer of Crystal Falls.
The 16-year-old Brauer already has a list of achievements including being in the 2014 State Honors Choir, the District and Regional Honors Choir in 2012-2013 and the Chamber Singers 2013-2014. She was given the opportunity to sing at the Avery Fisher Hall/Lincoln Center in New York last year.
Brauer - alongside the new Miss Upper Peninsula USA Jimme Vereb - has already been called upon to participate in some community events and is looking forward to being part of many more in the future.
"It's great to be able to help in the community," she said. "Being a volunteer in your hometown is a wonderful thing."
Working with Miss Upper Peninsula USA pageant director Jennifer Skogman-Warner has been a great experience, Brauer said.
"Jennifer is great. She's so encouraging," Brauer said. "My coach - Samantha - has been awesome. And I am looking forward to meeting with Crystal Hayes when Jimme and I go downstate soon for a consultation with her."
Crystal Hayes, who is a native of Rock, was Miss Michigan USA in 2005, placing in the semifinals of the Miss USA pageant that same year.
"I will be busy preparing for the physical fitness portion of the state pageant," Brauer said. "I will be working with trainers at Synergy Fitness for that.
"And I think Samantha and I will be doing a lot of dress shopping."
Asked if there's any aspect of the upcoming state pageant that makes her nervous, Brauer did list one.
"The swimsuit competition. That's a little bit like being on stage in your underwear," she said. "And this is a different level, a little bigger level, so that makes me a little nervous. I will be a little bit out of my comfort zone. "
Brauer said she is most thankful for the encouragement she has received.
"My family and my friends have given me such great support through the whole process," Brauer said.
Brauer said she's still on Cloud 9 about winning the crown.
"It's a blessing to be able to represent the U.P. downstate," she said. "It is really an honor."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.