Rachel Wyatt was riding around in a golf cart, but she wasn’t playing golf. Actually, she wasn’t anywhere near a golf course.
“We’re kind of cruising around,” said Wyatt, who was crowned Miss South Carolina Teen last month. “We’re cooling off after going to the beach.”
Wyatt and her family were at Myrtle Beach the last week of July where the 17-year-old Piedmont native was enjoying her first significant time away from pageant life since winning the crown on July 14.
“It’s been really nice getting a break,” she said. “But I’ve been working on pageant stuff.”
Wyatt will be one of 53 girls competing for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen title in Orlando. The pageant begins Tuesday, a month to the day since Wyatt excited the Miss S.C. crowd by giving her sister, Hannah, a birthday present after she was crowned. It was Hannah, who turned 21 the day after the pageant, that suggested that Wyatt do the Tebow.
While holding a bouquet of flowers, Wyatt got down on one knee, and with her elbow on her knee and a fist to her head, she did what is commonly known as Tebowing. It’s the move Tim Tebow, an NFL quarterback, does after scoring touchdowns. It’s more impressive when done in heels; CNN featured video of the move.
“She said it was the best birthday present ever,” Wyatt, the youngest of three girls, said. Her other sister, Sydney, is 23. “My dad’s got a family full of girls. And we’ve got a female dog.”
Immediately following the Miss South Carolina press conference, Wyatt traveled to the pageant’s headquarters in Hartsville to fill out MAO paperwork. The trip to Myrtle Beach wasn’t all about cruising and relaxing, as Wyatt had to work on her competition look. She also had to go shopping at Foxy Lady, a Grand Strand gown emporium. She didn’t sound too upset by that vacation interruption.
Wyatt, a rising senior honor student at Wren High School, didn’t follow her sisters’ footsteps by entering pageants.
“It’s not a family thing,” she said. “I really like to dance, so that’s kind of why I got into it.”
Wyatt, who performs with her high school dance team, trains at the Upstate Carolina Dance Center usually three to four days a week during the school year. For her talent, Wyatt performs a lyrical dance set to “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. She won a talent preliminary at Miss S.C.
“I wanted to be able to emote in my dance,” she said. “I really related to the lyrics in ‘The Climb.’ It’s easier to express your emotions in the art form.”
Is Wyatt a fan of Cyrus?
“I didn’t choose it because she was the artist,” Wyatt said.
If you know anything about Cyrus, you know that she was something of a Disney princess as she rose to fame starring in Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.” Wyatt has dreamed of becoming a Disney princess, albeit of the fairytale variety. She’d like to work as a princess at Disney World.
“I think it would be a fun job,” she said. “And I love kids.”
Wyatt doesn’t know if the pageant organization’s schedule includes a visit to Disney World. If she doesn’t get to the park, would she settle for simply winning another crown?
“Absolutely,” she said. “That would be even better.”
Wyatt said most of her friends were in Columbia for pageant week, so returning home wasn’t such a big deal. She’s gone back to dance practice and has been working on her on-stage interview presence.
“Nothing’s really changed too much,” she said.
“I try to go about my daily life like it’s the same,” Wyatt said. “For the most part, everything is still the same.”
Let’s see what happens if she wins another crown.
Reach Taylor at (803) 771-8362.