Sitting Down with Bella Grill - Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen
We sat down (and by "sat down" we mean, sat behind our computer) to talk to (and by "talk to" we mean "email") Bella Grill, a Liberty Classical Academy sophomore who, in midst of everything else going on in our state and country right now, has just started a new adventure in her work with the Miss Minnesota Outstanding Teen pageant.
What exactly is this new title you've won in the state of Minnesota?
I just won the title of Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen 2020, which is the “little sister” program to the Miss Minnesota and Miss America program.
What kinds of responsibilities or opportunities come with your big win?
So many amazing opportunities. I work with Children’s Hospitals and Children’s Miracle Network to raise awareness and funds for the needs of patients and their families at Children’s hospitals in Minnesota. I hope to be able to visit the children in the hospitals to spend time with them and bring joy to their long days.
My social impact initiative is “Healthy Habits for All”, encouraging kids and adults to live a healthy lifestyle by changing some bad habits and replacing them with better, healthy habits. I will also be working with an organization called “Action for Healthy Kids”. They provide tools and resources for students, parents, and schools to help families be more active and live healthier lives.
Additionally, I am looking for speaking engagements or opportunities to visit groups around the state to teach others how to make small changes to their habits that can have a large impact on their overall health.
What made you pursue the opportunity?
Funny story: My mom signed me up for my first pageant and I was less than excited to participate. My friend Lillie encouraged me to try, as she has been competing in pageants for a few years. She helped me prepare for my first competition and I won! I was Miss River Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2019. I fell in love with the program. It’s hard to believe, but the girls and their moms are all so sweet and helpful and not anything like you’ve seen on reality TV. In 2020, I competed in a second local competition and lost. But many people encouraged me to try for the state title which was awarded in March. After praying about it and weighing my options, I decided to give it a shot. I had nothing to lose and I knew I would get to see many of the friends I made last year, plus meet a few new ones too. During the week leading up the competition, I decided to give it all I had and do my very best during each phase of the competition (On-Stage Question/Evening Gown, Fitness, Talent, and Interview).
Interestingly, the interview portion is weighted the highest at 35% of your overall score. I ended up with the top score for the interview portion! (with a $300 scholarship too!). There is no doubt that the skills I used during the interview were developed at Liberty through speech meets, presentations, and especially Rhetoric class…that has been the most helpful class.
After winning the state title, I had a chance to meet with the judges. All 5 of them told me that I did an outstanding job during my interview and that I was ready to represent the state of MN at the national competition. That is how impressed they were with my interview and public speaking skills.
Where do you see yourself going next?
In the fall, I will be competing for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. It was scheduled for August but has been postponed until at least October. I am excited to meet the other candidates and showcase my talent (lyrical dance), my social impact initiative, and my interview skills to the judges and the audience. Until then, I will be traveling around the state of Minnesota promoting healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle. I am also looking for opportunities to speak with students, groups, and clubs about healthy living. I plan to take part in local festivals and parades this year. Until then, I am using social media to reach people and encourage them to make better choices for themselves each day.
How are you doing in the quarantine? What are you doing to pass the time?
My family and I are doing well. We are getting along pretty well so far. Two of my 3 brothers are back home so it’s been interesting getting acclimated to having them back. School is going well. I am really enjoying the online learning and getting to see my friends and classmates by Zoom. Honestly, I miss hanging out with them in person. We have been staying busy as much as we can by walking our dog, (Maxx LOVES having us all home), working outside, cooking lots of homemade meals, cleaning, and home improvements projects.
How can people follow you and the work you’re doing around the state?
Photography by John Nelson at Photographycs