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Orland Park 17-year-old is Miss Illinois Teen USA

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Updated: January 2, 2014 6:20AM



Just before being crowned last week as the new Miss Illinois Teen USA, Miranda Fenzau was asked by judges what she described as her favorite question of the competition — “Is a pageant queen born, or do you become a pageant queen?”

Fenzau, 17, of Orland Park, will compete next summer in the Miss Teen USA pageant at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. She firmly believes she was born to win a pageant and hopes to pursue a career as a professional model.

Her mom, Renee, was so sure of her daughter’s destiny that she bought pink baby clothes adorned with crowns — even though she wasn’t sure if she was having a boy or a girl.

Fenzau competed in her first pageant when she was 6 months old and has an extensive professional resume in modeling and advertising. She has done voiceover work for commercials for products such as Skippy peanut butter and Band-Aid, and TV spots for Sears’ Craftsman tools and Aunt Millie’s bread.

Fenzau, a senior at Marist High School, has appeared in magazines such as Seventeen and Teen Vogue and was one of six models for the newest catalog of Party Time Formals, which specializes in prom and homecoming dresses. She has also modeled for print ads for retailers such as American Girl, J.C. Penney and KB Toys.

Fenzau said she was 10 when she did the Skippy commercial, but her voice sounded like a younger child’s.

“I had the squeakiest voice,” she said.

Her line?

“It was, ‘I love Skippy peanut butter and I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner,’ or something like that,” she said.

Fenzau was one of 100 girls competing in the Miss Illinois Teen USA pageant and was crowned Nov. 24. It was the fourth time she had entered.

Her first try was in 2011, when she was a freshman, but she didn’t make the final cut.

“I didn’t know what I was doing,” she said. “I just went with the flow of things.”

After that, Fenzau’s family enlisted the help of a paid pageant coach, and she was first runner-up during her sophomore and junior years. Last year, she was also named most photogenic.

At Marist, the 5-foot 10-inch Fenzau has been active in volleyball, soccer and poms. Her hobbies include water skiing and snowboarding. That’s in addition to a fitness regimen that includes a “lot of yoga and I just started kick boxing,” she said.

Looking beyond Marist, Fenzau has applied to DePaul and the University of Illinois at Chicago and wants to study public relations or marketing.

Still, that’s a secondary aspiration to her real dream. Where does she see herself in five years?

“I hope to be living in the city and having a really good modeling career,” she said.



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