PSU Junior Tyrene Bada won the Miss Portland contest. Her prizes include one full year paid tuition at PSU and a $450 scholarship from the Miss Portland program.
In February, Bada heard about the contest and decided to look into it. She talked to the pageant directors and they encouraged her to compete. “I didn’t want to win,” she said, “I just wanted to do it for fun.”
“It is not a beauty pageant,” she said with assurance. “The judges are not just looking for beauty, they look for intelligence, talent, speaking abilities and confidence.” However, there is a “swimsuit contest,” which is also known as the physical fitness competition. Contestants are judged on their appearance and how well they hold themselves in their bathing suits.
The contest was held and co-sponsored by PSU, in Lincoln Hall. The event took all day, starting at 9 a.m. ending with the crowning at 9:30 p.m. First, an interview was conducted and that was worth 30 percent of the score. Second, each contestant must show a talent, which was worth 40 percent. Then, the physical fitness aspect is judged (15 percent) and then the women are judged on their presence and poise, which is known as the “evening gown” competition (15 percent).
In her fist competition ever, she beat out nine other women for the title. Bada was surprised to see how few women decided to compete. One of her post-crowning goals is to actually “spread the word around and try to get other girls to compete. It is easy and fun,” she said. “Besides, who doesn’t like shopping for clothes, jewelry and getting their hair done?”
As for the competition itself, Bada focused on each of the categories. For her talent she chose to sing the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and for the other categories she just had to say something intelligent, have good posture and walk with confidence in a swimsuit.
Bada said with a giggle, “One of the hardest parts of the competition is finding clear high heels for the swimsuit competition. Everything else,” she said, “was easy.”
Being crowned Miss Portland “hasn’t really changed her life,” she said, “then again it has only been a week.” Bada continues to work full-time as the assistant to the director of business affairs at PSU and is enrolled as a computer science major.
“In the future I have appearances scheduled, but as of right now nothing is concrete,” Bada said.
She is also currently in a musical called “Into The Woods” where she is playing Rapunzel. Bada is also in a one-act play at PSU, called “Trying to Find China Town.”
Music and performance have “always come natural to me,” she said. She doesn’t even remember learning how to read music because it was “as easy as reading words.” Her mother is a piano teacher and music was always a part of her life. At age 8 she learned to play the violin and in that same year played with the Metropolitan Youth Symphony.
Now she likes singing, working at PSU, hanging out with her friends and being a student. Bada, who is a native to Portland and attended St. Mary’s Academy, chose PSU because she felt “so comfortable being downtown. My whole experience here (at PSU) has been wonderful.”
As for her post-graduate plans, she would like to continue working at PSU or get a job in the computer industry. As for now, she has no major plans and would like to keep her options open.
Bada is also looking forward to the Miss Oregon competition where she will be competing for a $10,000 scholarship.
“The age limit is 24. I am 24 and this is my last chance. Plus, this is a great opportunity for scholarships,” she said.