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A passion for pageants

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MODEL IN THE MAKING: Darleana Vermilion-Smull said beauty pageants have brought out a different side of her shy 4-year-old, Adalynne.
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RED, WHITE AND BLUE: Adalynne Smull won first prize in the patriotic category of the Sunburst Beauty Pageant, which she said was her favorite category.
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GLAMOROUS: Adalynne said she enjoyed looking like a princess for the glamour category, where she won first runner-up at a state pageant.

BY Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

Adalynne Smull is like most 4-year-olds. She likes Disney princesses, playing outside and wrestling with her little brother Rylee.

She’s also working on her shapes, colors, numbers and letters.

What sets her apart from most young children is that she is royalty.

Adalynne competed in a beauty pageant in April where she earned several trophies, tiaras and the title of Sunburst Queen.

It all started when the Smull family was walking through the Glenbrook Mall in Fort Wayne. They came across a poster for a beauty pageant and asked Adalynne if she was interested.

Adalynne is homeschooled and her mother, Darleana Vermilion-Smull, thinks pageants are a good way to let her socialize.

As far as her routine, Adalynne spends about an hour and a half doing hair and light makeup, getting dressed and going over her routines.

Darleana said Adalynne will try to grab the judges attention by blowing kisses, posing or doing little dances.

Darleana describes Adalynne as quite shy, but when she gets up on stage, she turns into an entirely different kid.

“Before she goes on stage, she turns to me and says ‘I’m going to rock this pageant,’” Darleana said.

Adalynne has only been competing since April, but she seems to be a natural.

At the state Sunburst Beauty Pageant in Indianapolis, Adalynne won first place in the patriotic, swimsuit, schoolwear and photogenic categories. She also won best smile.

She was first runner-up in the portfolio and glamour categories.

After competitions, the family usually goes out for ice cream.

These events are usually a family affair, but sometimes not everyone is able to make it.

“We always do things as a family so it’s hard being apart,” Darleana said.

No matter where they are, friends and family are always cheering Adalynne on.

Darleana said everyone has been very supportive and even donated money to help make this possible.

Pageant life can get expensive so Darleana finds dresses for sale on Ebay and Facebook. She’s even tried making some costumes herself. She put the red, white and blue dress together for the patriotic category.

These events take a lot of preparation, but Adalynne said the best part is looking like a princess, just like Cinderella, her favorite royal woman.

When she’s not up on stage, Adalynne takes horseback riding lessons. Her parents have also considered enrolling her in dance classes. Darleana thinks she would like to be in hip-hop classes, like her older cousin.

The next pageant will be in Kokomo at the end of the month, but the family isn’t sure what the future holds.

“We never dreamed it would go to this,” Darleana said. “But we’ll keep it up as long as she’s having fun.”