RIVERVIEW, Fla. — Beauty pageants are often evaluated on how contestants walk, dress and smile for the judges. But Miss Riverview Teen USA is doing so much more.
It’s what you don’t see on stage that makes Tatyannah Santos-Lopez most proud to wear the crown.
From beauty queen, to quarterback, to color guard and drill team commander, Santos-Lopez makes a lot of wardrobe changes.
“There’s been times I went to practice, had fun, and then two hours later I had a photo shoot so I had to do hair and makeup and get into a dress,” said Santos-Lopez.
The East Bay High School junior has been competing in pageants since she was four years old.
“I love doing them, it teaches girls confidence, it teaches girls how to do interviews,” said Santos-Lopez.
Miss Riverview Teen USA is the sash she cherishes the most.
“First of all I get to represent my hometown, Riverview is amazing, I love it here,” said Santos-Lopez.
Looking good in a dress is just a small part of winning a pageant. Santos-Lopez is quick to highlight the work she’s done in the community, especially her foundation, Knowledge Over Poverty.
“Not every kid can do something as simple as going to the library, not every kid has the opportunity to read a book,” said Santos-Lopez.
The 17-year-old has delivered hundreds of baskets filled with candy, toys and most importantly new books, to children living in foster care.
“My biggest message to those kids is that, 'We see you, we’re here. The books in my room are donated from all over the community and they know where it’s going, they know it's going to you guys, they love you',” said Santos-Lopez.
Santos-Lopez’s commitment to service is what drives her the most. She has aspirations to attend the United States Air Force Academy, and then a few years later, make some history.
“So my ultimate goal is to be the first female Hispanic and West Indian President, so first minority president that is a female of the United States,” said Santos-Lopez.
Before hitting the campaign trail her next pageant will be Miss Florida Teen USA this July in Orlando.