Crown just the beginning for local pageant winner
Canton – Maddie Helton has big goals in life. Winning a pageant was a mere drop in the bucket.
Helton won the title of Miss Blue Ridge Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2019 on Saturday night at the Colonial Theater in Canton. She is not only the first Cherokee County resident to win the event, but she is the first young lady west of Bryson City to earn the crown.
Helton, a 16-year-old homeschooled student, is the daughter of Jennifer Twiggs and Ryan Helton. She is the granddaughter of Jean and the late Ricky Twiggs.
After attending meetings about the pageant with a friend, she decided to give it a shot. The competition included plenty of challenges, including a private interview, fitness challenge, talent show and evening gown precession with on-stage questions.
Helton bested two other contestants in her division to move on to the state pageant April 11-14 in High Point.
Her talent was a lyrical dance, which combines ballet with contemporary, to the song Rescue by Lauren Daigle. In her interview, she was asked to share her opinions on the appropriate legal age for purchasing e-cigarettes.
“I do not think any kids under 18 should have access to e-cigarettes,” she said. “Some states have voted the age up to 21, but I think it should be 25. These kids are getting addicted to nicotine way too early in life.”
Helton plans to make as many appearances as possible in her title capacity, including at Sunday’s U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program in Asheville to honor Veterans Day. That’s all part of her greater plans to start a non-profit organization to help homeless veterans called Helton’s Homes for the Brave.
“My goal is to find homes, rehab and love for veterans who sorely need it,” said Helton, who will start the organization in Florida, where she already has land secured for office space. She hopes to bring help to Cherokee County once it is off the ground.
She also hopes to earn a degree in marketing and develop multiple non-profit philanthropic organizations.
“I have a lot of ambition,” Helton said.