Alana Morgan is both beauty and brains. The 17-year-old senior at Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) was crowned Miss California Teen US on Aug. 9., and will go on to compete in the pageant’s national competition, Miss Teen United States, this October in Las Vegas. Morgan competed in her first pageant at age 12, in the Miss West Coast Pageant as a Junior Teen, placing the top five as a runner up. The high school senior wears her other titles proudly: actress, model, member of Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), entrepreneurship club, By Your Side club that helps students with special needs, varsity cheerleader, varsity track athlete, and head anchor on KBEV–the student run news station at BHHS.
For Morgan, pageantry is about more than glitz and glam. “This title actually gives me the ability to use my voice as a vehicle to push for change on different issues our society faces,” Morgan told the Courier. “I’m a role model for other young girls. and it’s important to uphold that responsibility and be the positive leader we need.”
The Courier spoke to Morgan about her journey to pageantry, what the crown means to her and what’s next.
How did you initially get into pageantry?
I actually started doing pageantry because of my mom. She always watched the bigger pageants and she told me about how these girls are not only projecting confidence and beauty, but they have this platform behind them. They’re representing beauty and brains and she wanted me to get connected and help with the different issues going on in our society today as well.
What are your plans after graduation?
I definitely want to get a degree in broadcast journalism and I also want to pursue my modeling career further and be able to reach my full potential. I’m going to apply to my top choices, UCLA and USC. USC has a really good broadcast journalism program and UCLA is one of my dream schools. I’m also thinking about Syracuse University and UC Santa Barbara, but my main focus is USC and UCLA right now.
What do you love about pageantry?
A lot goes into pageants. People don’t realize that we’re not just on-stage walking and showing off a pretty dress or competing in sportswear or swimsuits. We compete in onstage questions and judge interviews and it really showcases that the girls aren’t just beautiful, but they have the brains to back up their beauty. There’s a whole training process. I trained for this pageant for a while now with my coaches, and I’ve been able to better myself after competing for so long to be able to better my platform and to be able to promote my message a little bit more.
What is your message?
I work with the Kindness organization and the hashtag #teenshelpingteens. I constantly promote that hashtag because it’s very important for teens to uplift one another and to be there for one another. I worked with the Kindness organization to create a kindness wall at my high school last February, where my classmates and I wrote positive affirmations on message bubbles. It was actually in honor of a 15-year-old kid named Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, who was brutally murdered by gang members in the Bronx, so we got a proclamation made in his honor.
What will you do now that you’ve won this title?
I’m looking forward to creating more kindness walls across the United States because I saw how much of an impact it had on others and I saw how much it really changed our school overall. I want to be able to share my journey through my social media. On TikTok I have quite a following. I created a challenge so people across the country could represent their state to show positivity and love. I’ve gotten so many submissions and more than half a million views already! Throughout the journey of competing in pageantry, I’ve always came back to my city. I represented my City, Beverly Hills. I’m Miss Teen California, United States, and now me and my City together, as a whole, we’re on this journey to nationals.