MANTI—After attempting suicide just last year and dealing with other suicide-related challenges, Keyera Braithwaite was chosen as Miss Manti 2021.
Braithwaite counts her suicide attempt and losing a close friend to suicide two weeks ago as challenges she needed to overcome to compete at Miss Manti Scholarship Pageant 2021. She also felt compelled to talk about suicide, given that her platform was “Kindness is ‘Key’ For Our Community.”
She said events “really brought me to this moment and helped build me up and make me stronger. But it definitely has been a challenge.
The first attendant was Alexis Christensen and the other attendants were Bethany Christensen and Hope Marsing. Braithwaite earned $1,000 in scholarship money; Alexis Christensen got $500; and Bethany Christensen and Marsing each got $200. The $1,900 was donated by 20 sponsors.
The contestants competed through several stages: interview (25 percent of the scoring); talent (35 percent); evening wear (20 percent); on-stage question (5 percent), and lifestyle and fitness on stage (15 percent).
Braithwaite competed in the pageant two years ago, the last time the pageant was held.
“Where I have done Miss Manti in the past, winning has just felt like a great opportunity,” Braithwaite said. “I’m just really excited to serve my community with my platform.”
Braithwaite learned many lessons from her last Miss Manti pageant, she said. She learned how to be a leader. How to be on stage. How to be more confident. And especially, how to interview.
“That was the most important thing I have learned in the past that’s helped me out this time,” Braithwaite said.
Braithwaite is going to implement her platform by talking about yoga and meditation and “how it can help bring positivity into your life,” she said. In the next aspect of the platform of being kind to others, Braithwaite wants to start a kindness chain within Manti, where acts of kindness would be passed on to someone else, “to get a little kindness going in our community,” she said.
In the third aspect of the platform of being kind to the environment, Braithwaite wants to “start a little bit of recycling that I would be responsible for to take to the [Snow College] recycling center.”
Braithwaite said she had been preparing for her moment of winning for “years” after doing pageants and learning how to be on stage.
“It was awesome and I’m so proud of the girls, especially the ones who just got thrown into this,” Braithwaite said.
Braithwaite’s favorite part of the evening was the introductions, “because that’s the part that we are not being judged on and so all the girls are always a lot more calm and a lot more confident during that part,” she said.
The emcee was Adyson Keisel, Miss Teen Utah International 2021 and National Teen Miss All American Girl. Miss Manti 2019 Libby Simons often accompanied her. They gave the Heart of Manti award to Claire Cox. Other pageant participants included Noelle Condie, Miss Sanpete County Outstanding Teen. The pageant director was Breanne Keisel.