Local teen wins state pageant title

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 29, 2015

 Chambe is crowned Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen at a ceremony in Muskegon. She will compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program in Orlando, Florida, in July.

Chambe is crowned Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen at a ceremony in Muskegon. She will compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program in Orlando, Florida, in July.

Photo provided by Doug King


ST. CLAIR SHORES — Before Vanessa Chambe began competing in local Miss America’s Outstanding Teen preliminary competitions, she was shy and somewhat insecure, her mother said.

But now, the 17-year-old former Miss Teen St. Clair Shores walks with poise, has no problems speaking to large groups, and was just crowned Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen at the state competition in Muskegon on June 17.

“It’s been a really exciting week for me,” said Chambe, who will begin her senior year at Lake Shore High School this fall.

This is the fourth year she’s competed in pageants, winning Miss Teen St. Clair Shores in 2011, Miss Oakland County Outstanding Teen in 2012, Miss SouthCentral Michigan Outstanding Teen in 2013, and then Miss Downriver Outstanding Teen in 2014.

It was with the title of Miss Downriver Outstanding Teen that she arrived to compete for the 2015 Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen title with a platform of Girl Scouts: building confidence and character through service, and a tap dance routine set to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s “Mr. Pinstripe Suit.”

“Every single year, I’ve gained a new confidence, and this year was my last year eligible to compete as a teen,” Chambe said, explaining that she just decided to head into the competition with the goal of having a good time.

“This week, I’ve just felt very calm — I wasn’t very nervous,” and she said she just wanted to show the judges who she really is. It obviously paid off.

“I’ve been working toward this for four years, so it really is a dream come true being able to compete at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.”

Chambe has lived in St. Clair Shores with her mother, Karla, father, Tom, and teenage brothers her entire life. Competing in pageants has earned her scholarship money — she won $1,000 for winning the Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen title — and the national competition has the potential to help her win even more. Some of the 52 girls competing for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen could even win full-ride scholarships to college.

But Karla Chambe said she’s impressed with how much her daughter has grown as a result of the program.

“She’s going to have a friend in every state,” Karla Chambe said. “Going back to the beginning, when she first started competing in the Little Miss St. Clair Shores, she was so shy. She’d kind of hide behind us and was real insecure.

“This opened her up to be able to speak in front of the entire school. As Miss Oakland County, she spoke in front of a group of 100 Girl Scouts, and she would never have been able to do that (before). Just building up her confidence has been a huge success for her from being in this organization.”

Vanessa Chambe said she feels the most important portion of the competition is the private interview with the judges, because that’s when the judges get to know the contestants.

To get ready for competitions, she said, “I have some mock interviews. I’m always at the (Rhythm-n-Jump Dance Academy) studio practicing my tap dance ... perfecting my walk and making sure I feel really confident.

“It can be a little bit time-consuming, but I like preparing for it.”

When Chambe made it to the top 10, and then was included in the top 5 during the June 17 competition, Karla Chambe said she was “just so proud of her.”

“She truly is a sweet girl,” she said of her daughter. “She likes asking you questions about yourself and making other people feel good. She really is a good kid.”

Only five weeks separate the competitions in Michigan and Florida, but Vanessa Chambe said that’s for the best. She said she felt really prepared heading into the state competition.

“Now, I just keep that going and hope for the best down in Orlando.”