PARKVILLE, Mo. — Parkville native and newly crowned Miss Teen USA Sophia Dominguez-Heithoff arrived home over the weekend to a crowd ready to celebrate her accomplishment.
Dozens of people stood outside Platte County Community Center South on Saturday, Aug. 5 as Dominguez-Heithoff, 17, arrived and greeted the crowd. She is a resident of Parkville in the Riss Lake subdivision and graduated from Park Hill South last spring — a year early.
Dominguez-Heithoff plans to start her freshman year at the University of Kansas in the fall and wants to go on to law school and pursue a degree in political science and ethics. She won the Miss Teen USA competition late last month in Phoenix, Ariz.
“It’s important to remember that as Miss Teen USA, you are a role model for the entire United State of America,” Dominguez-Heithoff said during the question-and-answer portion of the competition. “I would love to be the Miss Teen USA that could accept everyone, especially for their differences.”
The Miss Teen USA Competition is held annually with contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Entrants go through preliminary interviews and an athletic wear and evening gown presentation show to help select the semifinalists, who are named on the final night event.
Celebrity trainer Heidi Powell and E! Entertainment correspondent Erin Lim hosted this year’s show.
Five judges chose the top 15 at the preliminary competition before narrowing it down to a competitive top five. Dominguez-Heithoff made the cut each time during the pageant showcase, which showed the contestants in the athletic wear and evening gown competitions before the final question and answer.
After being named the winner, Dominguez-Heithoff traveled to New York City for appearances to begin her reign with the crown. She then made her first appearance back home.
Students from Catherine’s School of Dance located in Parkville held signs spelling out “Missouri,” making up the majority of the crowd that welcomed home the new pageant queen.
“We are proud of Sophia and we know she will represent Parkville well as she tends to her responsibilities as Miss Teen USA,” Parkville mayor Nan Johnston said.
The Miss Teen USA winner spends her time developing and fulfilling personal and professional goals as well as traveling locally and nationally to expand her charitable platform. The title also includes a scholarship for further education; access to the Miss Universe Organization’s global network of resources for career opportunities; a personal appearance wardrobe; and opportunities to attend major fashion weeks, local and national sporting events, charity fundraising galas, red carpet events, movie premieres and more.
Dominguez-Heithoff has also created Community and Scholars Cooperatively, which is an organization that focuses on making community service opportunities fun and easy for teenagers.
The Miss Universe Organization is a company “run by women for women,” built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity according to the group’s website.
Annually, nearly 10,000 young women participate in Miss Universe pageant events, including Miss Teen USA. The mission of the organization is to provide the tools which help women to be their personal best.