By Erin Tierney
The Creswell Chronicle
Creswell, we’ve got a princess in our presence.
Miya Towers, 4, is climbing through the ranks of royalty — after being crowned a Miss Lane County Princess and then a Miss Oregon Princess, Miya will soon be on her way to sunny Florida for the Miss America Princess Camp, July 23 through 30.
“A couple weeks ago, Miya was deemed Miss Lane County and went to State in Seaside,” Miya’s proud mother, Mellisa Riordan said. “She was chosen out of 42 participants to be Miss Oregon.”
Miya will go down to Nationals in Florida for a full week of camp and will be on stage for up to four days.
For a preschooler, Miya can really bust a move.
“She’s been dancing since she was 16 months old,” Riordan said, noting Miya’s dance instructor, Lindsey Cooper, has been a great asset in growing her skills.
Contemporary dance is her thing — especially ballet. It’s her ability to dance, coupled with an endearing personality, that raises Miya through the ranks. A bit bashful when initially asked a question offstage, Miya bats her lashes and retreats to Mom, coyly peeking out from behind her leg. Onstage, however, Miya’s a professional at speaking into the microphone. She carries herself with clarity, cuteness and grace — just as a princess would.
The Miss Lane County Princess Program is a preliminary to the famous Miss America Pageant, and now Miya has the opportunity to be on the Miss America Outstanding Team.
These pageants aim to teach the four points of the crown: scholarship, service, style and success, Riordan said. This is not a Toddlers in Tiaras scenario; girls don’t wear makeup or have to wear expensive dresses to take home a crown, which is good, because despite being royalty, Miya is a tried-and-true Creswell country girl.
“She’s also a farm girl — she drives the Gator around and helps us pick berries,” Riordan said. “She loves to fix her hair, but also loves to get dirty and play in the dirt.”
Miya’s platform is Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for children’s hospitals, medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues. She’s already raised hundreds of dollars putting on fundraising events, such as car washes in town.
Riordan appreciates the positive role model experience Miya has been having with the Princess Program, which is is aimed to connect young Oregon girls with inspiring role models from their community and is noncompetitive, focusing on confidence and self-discovery through mentorship.
“The princesses get to be mentored by the very best ladies their town, state and nation have to offer,” the nonprofit site states. “They will be shown how to have great self-pride, values, morals, self-respect to stand for what they believe in and to be a helpful part of any community they belong to.”
Miya has found a solid mentor in Emma Mather, Miss Outstanding Teen Lane County 2017, who is a sophomore at Triangle Lake Charter School. In addition, Miya will get to meet Miss America 2017 and is automatically deemed a National Princess, Riordan said. There will be a drawing to see who wins Miss America Princess 2017.
The community has already been a major contributor in helping Miya achieve her dreams. Miya’s family will need to pay for airfare, hotels and ticket costs to get to Florida. They are currently hoping to reach a $2,500 fundraising goal.
Donation buckets have been placed on the counters of Bi-Mart, Creswell City Hall, TJ’s Family Restaurant, Point S Creswell and Cascade Home Center.
“We have already received an overwhelming amount of support from the community,” Riordan said. Mom, Dad (Joshua Towers), and grandparents Tonya and Kean Rager of Creswell (owners of Blondie’s Blooms & Berries Nursery), Tasha Forrester of Eugene, Dale Riordan of Creswell and Jim Lewis of Eugene will all be cheering Miya on.
If interested in donating to help Miya get to Florida, please visit youcaring.com/miyatowers-868684.
For more information on Miss Lane County, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-913-7235.