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Teen Universe 2018 contestants prepare for pageant

25 teens from across the United States are in Amarillo to compete in the Teen Universe 2018 pageant. (ABC 7 Amarillo-Tiffany Lester)

Teenagers from across the country are in Amarillo for the Teen Universe pageant Sunday, but before they can hit the stage, they have to practice.

From walking and dancing in five-inch stilettos, to having the perfect smile, practice makes perfect.

“You always have to remain with a great posture and I think it’s hard because especially being myself I like to slouch a lot ,” said Teen Universe Illinois Brianne Espinoza.

The 25 contestants in the 2018 Teen Universe pageant are even learning a new technique to ease their aching feet called the “chicken dance”.

But the girls tell ABC 7 News it’s all worth it.

“It’s an honor to be here and I went through a lot of struggles and a lot of stress because everything was all last minute and a bunch of changes also happened but I’m really excited about this life changing experience,” said Teen Universe Texas Yesenia Herrera.

“If you do win the crown, this is something that gives you the opportunity not only to speak with your city and your country, but be known, then you become somebody that’s being looked up to,” said Espinoza.

Some girls traveled for more than a dozen hours to visit Amarillo and battle it out on the stage for the crown, which represents more than just beauty.

“It was a long journey but it was exciting. We took Route 66 and it might have taken a little bit longer, but it was definitely worth it. Although it was long, it’s something that you can never take away, the experience was amazing,” said Espinoza.

Organizers tell ABC 7 News they hope the pageant motivates the contestants to stay on the right track, stay in school and above all else have fun and make friends.

“Make sure these girls grow up in the right direction,” said Teen Universe USA National Director Juan Arturo Ramirez. “Winning the crown is the best part, but a crown only lasts for a year. The experience and everything they learn throughout the year is going to last forever.”

During a practice question and answer portion of the practice, Teen Universe New York said, “The best experience that I’ve had this week is meeting each and every one of the girls in the pageant.”

“Teen Universe means to me, having confidence in yourself gaining confidence, making friends, making memories,” said Herrera.

“A few things that I’ve learned is to always have fun. We’re here to communicate with these ladies, make friends and I learned that if you’re having fun but also taking it seriously, you will grow as a person,” said Espinoza.

The contestants have a few more nights of practice before getting their chance in the spotlight to win the title of Teen Universe 2018 and a $1,000 Sunday.

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