Alyssa Gallagher of South Union Township recalled her July crowning in Orlando as 2019 International Miss, part of the International Junior Miss pageant.
“The moment was very exciting but it was – at the same time – is this really happening?’’ remembered Gallagher, 22, who represented Pennsylvania as Miss Keystone State.
Gallagher, a daughter of Rodney and the late Crystal Gallagher, is a 2015 Laurel Highlands graduate majoring in business administration at California University.
She teaches dance at Koza & Co. Dance Studio in Lemont Furnace and is working towards becoming a Radio City Rockette, attending their summer intensive program from which many participants have been hired.
“It’s has always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl,’’ said Gallagher, who admires the Rockettes for their famous kick line and precision dancing. “Now that I’m making it so close in the audition process, it feels like it’s right there.’’
Gallagher previously served as 2014 Pennsylvania Coal Queen and 2018 Miss Pennsylvania for International Junior Miss as well as first runner up to Miss Dance of Pennsylvania in her senior year.
As International Miss, Gallagher is one of six title holders in different age groups. Gallagher is the oldest while the youngest is International Junior Princess Brooklyn Franklin from Missouri. Two other title holders are from South Africa and two are from Australia.
“International Junior Miss is known for being an organization that brings together a sisterhood,’’ said Gallagher. “Winning the national title and being able to have five new sister queens from all over the world is a great opportunity and I’m excited for this year.’’
Judging for the week-long competition included Gallagher winning the talent portion with a tap routine to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’’
On the night of her crowning, Gallagher was excited to make it to the top 15 and then the top five.
“Then they started narrowing it down and my name wasn’t called,’’ said Gallagher. “I was standing there like ‘I could really win.’ I ended up standing there in the final two with one of my good friends, which was really nice. When they called my name, it was like ‘Wow.’’’
Gallagher said the win was even better because her younger sisters Kaylea and Summer were in the audience: “When I won, they went crazy so it was nice seeing them after I was crowned, to be able to see my family was exciting.’’
Gallagher’s father and brother, Rodney, were at a basketball tournament while her grandparents and aunt were live-streaming the pageant at home.
“When I won, the family was screaming and really excited,’’ said Gallagher. “Immediately after the pageant we had to take photos and it was crazy because everybody was trying to call me.’’
Gallagher’s upcoming pageant duties include a photo shoot in Houston in September and a trip to Paris and London in February.
“I’m very excited. I’ve never been out of the country,’’ said Gallagher.
She’ll also travel to several state pageants and promote her platform called Rainbow for Kids, an organization for children who are grieving over a loss or death of a family member.
“I always wanted to speak to children who’ve gone through the same thing I did,’’ said Gallagher, whose mother died of a heart attack in 2011.
Gallagher would like to continue with pageants, hoping to represent Pennsylvania in the Miss USA pageant someday.
“That’s the main goal with what I want to do with pageantry.’’ said Gallager, “but even if it stops here, I think it’s well worth it.’’