UM Student, Miss Florida Teen USA 2016
Grace Smith (or Gracie, as she goes by on-stage) is a communications major at the University of Miami. At the age of five, she began performing in glitz pageants under the direction of her mother and quickly realized her knack for performing. From her many titles in the pageant world to her plans to graduate a year earlier than her peers, Grace is a powerhouse of dedication to her future. She intends to pursue an international news broadcasting career after graduating and plans to return to the pageant circuit “as a full formed woman rather than an accomplished teenager.”
Following a grueling weekend of interviews and performances, Smith was crowned Miss Florida Teen USA 2016 over 60 other competitors. Since then she has become an Honors student at UM.
WHAT SHE SAYS
“I was crowned my junior year in high school and I had a lot going on. From dual-enrollment classes to volleyball and piano practice to fundraisers and trips to Miami to speak with my director, I was always doing something. We logged a lot of miles and I did a lot of homework in the backseat,” she says. “If it had come a year later, I think I would’ve come off as too old for the title, and if it came a year sooner I don’t think I would’ve been mature enough to handle it, so it was excellent timing even though it was a lot to juggle. Being a high school student [and] being a representative of the entire state on top of it was incredible.”
Story and photo by Kylie Wang