Originally from Washington, Missouri, Cheyenne Parks studied elementary education at the University of Missouri - Columbia before returning to Washington for a student teaching internship. She will begin a career as a fourth grade teacher in August. Parks currently holds the title of Miss Audrain and will be competing for the title of Miss Missouri this June.

Q: Have you competed in this event before? Have you held any titles previously?

A: This will be my fifth year competing. I was actually Miss Audrain in 2015.

Q: How did you get started doing pageants?

A: I started pageants when I was about twelve because of my dance teacher. I started dancing when I was three and love performing. My studio was asked to be the entertainment for a little local pageant and my dance teacher suggested I should enter. I fell in love with how much I was learning and the friends I was making. Once I turned thirteen I also realized the scholarship opportunities that were available. For this fact, I still compete to help pay for school but it is also the personal and life skills I gain through it all.

Q: What made you decide to compete in the pageant this year?

A: Obviously every single girl’s goal is to become Miss Missouri and represent our state at Miss America. For me, though, I also want to do my personal best. I want to be proud of everything I do that week along with meeting as many people as I possibly can. I love the Mexico community and have felt like a member for so long. Miss Missouri Week gives me a chance to spend time with my class of contestants but also work with so many people in the community.

Q: What are your goals for the coming weeks?

A: One of my favorites is the community involvement. Every single girl has a platform or cause they are passionate about and that is what they work for every single year. Service is a huge component to all of our lives and this is one avenue that we help to give back to the areas and states in which we have all grown up. Going into education, I am a huge advocate for kids and the fundamentals that they need to be successful. Through this organization, this has helped me get my voice heard and a platform to share.

Q: One thing you would like others to know about the Miss Missouri/Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen pageant?

A: One thing that I feel like people should know about Miss Missouri is that this is a scholarship organization. As contestants, we work the whole year in preparation for this week but we walk away with so much. First, we walk away with the scholarship money for school which helps so much! Second, we walk away with the life skills that benefit us so much in the workforce. From the interviewing aspect to public speaking to the self-confidence, all of these are such vital skills that help so many young women.