The beautiful dresses. The wide smiles. The talent show. All of these drum up one vision: a beauty pageant, and something that has been a dream for Arcadia resident Faith Phares. As the current Miss Arcadia USA, Phares will participate in the 2021 Miss Arizona USA pageant in May – her first in nearly 10 years.
After competing in Miss Illinois Teen USA in high school, Phares took a long break from the pageant world to attend college and start her career. But she always hoped she would be able to participate once more. When she realized that her age would soon make her ineligible for Miss Arizona USA (the age limit is 27), she turned her focus to making her dream happen before it was too late.
“I wish I would have done it earlier. I didn’t want to look back and regret not doing it now,” Phares said.
Once she passed the application process for Miss Arizona USA, Phares could choose her local title. As a producer for the Arizona Daily Mix at AZ-TV in Arcadia, she spends almost all of her time in the area. So, it was only fitting to represent the community as Miss Arcadia USA.
Phares has worked and lived in the neighborhood since graduating from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism.
“The views in Arcadia are like nowhere else, with Camelback Mountain and fruit trees throughout,” Phares said. “I’ve fallen in love with the community.”
Although she found success as Miss Swimsuit during Miss Illinois Teen USA, Phares didn’t grow up in the pageant world. Her childhood was spent mostly on farms and moving around with her military family. For most of her life, she felt more comfortable on a dirt bike than a stage.
“I was so nervous as a teen; now, I’ve had a lot more experience on-air,” Phares said. “I know who I am and what I stand for.”
For Phares, winning the title would allow her to dedicate a lot of time to community service and helping out at local businesses and events. And now that she’s gained more perspective and confidence, she is standing tall when it comes to her pageant platform of assisting veterans and military families around the state. Her father was in the Army, and her brother followed his path as well. She said she is proud to have the chance to shed more light on the organizations helping military families, homeless veterans and more.
To get ready for the Miss Arizona USA pageant, Phares needs sponsors to cover everything from the pageant fees to the required outfit changes. Along with an interview process, the pageant will include swimsuit and evening gown presentations. If she wins, Phares will head to the Miss USA Pageant that will hopefully happen in November – COVID permitting.
Follow Phares’ journey on Instagram at @FaithPhares