Potomac Senior Crowned Miss DC Teen USA, First Runner-up at Miss Teen USA


Courtesy of Hannah Gilliard

Hannah Gilliard wearing the crown of Miss District of Columbia

In November, Potomac senior Hannah Gilliard competed for the title of Miss Teen USA, where she finished first runner-up. Hannah represented the District of Columbia after winning the title of Miss District of Columbia Teen USA.

Miss DC Teen USA is a Miss Universe competition, an organization that says it aims to support goal-oriented, intelligent, and empowered women by providing the resources and experiences for them to advance their personal and humanitarian goals.
For Hannah, winning Miss DC Teen USA allowed her to launch a platform to address a prominent, yet often overlooked issue. She uses her position to advocate for teenagers’ mental health.

Hannah’s journey towards the crown was different from the many other competitors because Miss DC Teen and Miss Teen USA were her first pageant experiences. While many other competitors had large teams behind them, Hannah’s team consisted of only one coach and her family.

“I was going into Miss Teen USA without a director, which a lot of girls had. It was just me and my big sister, Miss DC USA, because she had multiple years of experience in the pageant world,” explained Hannah.

Her preparation for the pageants included workouts, a meal plan, and a two-hour walking class combined with mock-interviews.
“After that, I just had my mother ambush me with questions in the car or while I was trying to do other things,” Hannah said.
After winning Miss DC Teen USA, she faced more challenges as she was preparing for a national pageant.

Hannah said, “For Miss Teen USA, the biggest thing I had to get over was my nerves. I had been so nervous on stage for Miss DC Teen USA, and I knew that I couldn’t do that on a national stage. It was more of a mental preparation, and I think that really showed because there was a huge amount of improvement between the two pageants.”

As she continues her tenure as Miss DC Teen USA, Hannah is dedicated to not only catapult her desires to address mental health problems, but also to inspire others to make their voices heard. She said, “I want the youth in my community to feel a little bit more seen, and if I can change just two or three people’s lives in the DMV, that would be more than enough for me.”