Royalty among us

You could say modeling is in Raelene Singleton’s blood line.
Raelene’s cousin was a model in Paris, France, and her mother has been a model.
So when Raelene saw a model’s runway at a recent Twin Cities bridal expo, it was only natural that the 15-year-old Milaca High School student playfully took her turn walking down the platform. Miss-Minnesota-1
“I always wanted to be a model,” Raelene said.
In the span of three weeks, she went from a teen playing on a model’s runway to appearing in a fashion show, and into the Miss America Co-ed program where on Sunday, March 30, she was crowned Junior Teen Miss Minnesota. The pageant is a conservative pageant that aims to build confidence in young women and puts an emphasis on a participant’s personality — something Raelene has bubbling over. Raelene competed against other girls from Minnesota, ages 12-15.
Raelene says she never had aspirations to be “Miss Anything” – Miss Minnesota, Miss America or Miss Universe. Even being royalty in local competitions — like a Princeton Ambassador or a Mille Lacs County dairy princess — didn’t appeal to Raelene.
But a funny thing happened on that wedding expo runway the weekend of March 15-16 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. You could say Raelene “got noticed.”
“It liked me,” Raelene said of the runway. “I felt very natural on it.”
A representative of wedding dress retailer David’s Bridal thought so too and invited Raelene to work at a prom fashion show the following week.
Raelene took the job, and modeled three dresses. She worked as a live window model, a runway model and also did modeling where she walked around meeting people.
In the room that afternoon was the reigning 2013 Miss Minnesota American Co-ed, Lucia Aresni.
Aresni told Raelene about the pageant the following week and encouraged her to enter. Aresni offered to take Raelene under her wing, if only for a week, to teach her some of the more important aspects of being in a pageant.
Raelene went home and signed up.
“Lucia basically gave me lessons. She was my model coach,” Raelene said.
The two worked feverishly by both telephone and an online video chatting service.
“I had never been in heels before and had to learn to walk in them in three days!” Raelene said.
By Friday, March 28, Raelene was at the pageant, new outfits in hand, meeting with hairdressers, makeup artists, photographers and, most importantly, judges.
She performed in a group dance routine that the girls had just a few hours to learn. In that routine, Raelene wore her dance outfit — comprised of jeans, a pink shirt and shoes.
The dance routine was followed by an evening gown presentation, where not only did Raelene wear heels, but 3-inch heels. Her dress was a long, red, strapless dress that dropped all the way to the floor.
“I’m really tall, so wearing the 3-inch heals with the long dress was really hard,” she said.
Raelene then went before the judges in her teal blue interview suit, which was also accented by the high heels.
It’s in that interview room that Raelene figures she wooed the judges. In her opinion, the interviews are the most important aspect of the pageant.
She individually went before the five judges, who each asked Raelene a series of questions: Some serious and some a little less serious.
And when it came time to announce the winners, Raelene was left standing among the final four participants. Soon after, she was standing among the final two.
“By then, I kind of wanted to win,” she said.
As pageants go, the name of the first runner-up is usually announced first, leaving the one remaining girl to be the pageant winner.
“With two left, I was saying to myself, ‘Please say the other name first,’” she said.
And that’s the way it played out.
The name of the first runner-up was announced — and the name called wasn’t “Raelene Singleton.”
Raelene said she just stood shocked on the stage, not a word coming from her mouth for a few seconds.
“I didn’t mean for that to happen,” Raelene said with a laugh.
Now Raelene has a few busy months ahead of her as she prepares for the national competition this November in Orlando, Fla.
She is working to line up public speaking engagements and fine-tuning her platform: troubled teens and bullying.
She already has speaking engagements scheduled at the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant and at the Minnesota State Fair.
Raelene can be reached at [email protected] to discuss potential speaking engagements. She can also be reached by telephone at 320-515-0479.