April 1, 2024

Got Talent: Leesburg Pageant Queen Relies on Faith and Values to Mentor Young Women

1.1 min read| Published On: April 1st, 2024|

By Gina Horan

Got Talent: Leesburg Pageant Queen Relies on Faith and Values to Mentor Young Women

1.1 min read| Published On: April 1st, 2024|

The pageant circuit may have a frivolous and shallow reputation, but many of the young women who participate say the experience goes much deeper than what the public sees. 

For Mariah Derby-Wine, competitions saved her from shyness and a feeling of vulnerability.

“My mom thought that pageants might be good for me because I was quite timid and found it hard to fit in at school,” says the 17-year-old junior from Leesburg. “With pageants, I’m surrounded by like-minded people, so I feel safe.” 

Mariah won her first Sumter County pageant in 2016 when she was just 9.

In 2019, she was crowned Miss Junior Teen. 

She is currently USA National Miss Florida Teen and says she is proud that the USA National Miss Organization is based on scholarship and community service. 

“The focus isn’t on winning.” Mariah says. “It’s about being an ambassador and having a servant’s heart while focusing on kindness and compassion and being the girl I want to be.”

Pageants also inspired Mariah to create a year-round mentorship called “Crown Church” which she hosts on Zoom each Monday at 6 p.m. 

“It’s a safe space for young women and girls who may feel lost and vulnerable,” says Mariah. “I want them to know they don’t have to figure everything out on their own.”

Mariah strives to be relatable, authentic and genuine while sharing her Christian values with other pageant girls.

“We get to connect and grow together in our relationship with God and that gives me a true sense of purpose,” Mariah says.  

You can find Mariah on Instagram @mariah_faith_dw for the zoom link to Crown Church.  

2 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Erica Reynolds April 5, 2024 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    She I’d from Lake Panasoffkee. Not Leesburg

  2. Avatar
    Jannell costa April 6, 2024 at 11:38 am - Reply

    I am so proud of you. You are such a beautiful woman inside and out.
    I love you

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About the Author: Gina Horan

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