Photo provided by Allie Bell

Bell serves as Miss Arkansas’ Teen

February 9, 2024

By Emilee Webb, Print Editor-in-Chief

Allie Bell, a freshman communications major, is currently serving the state as Miss Arkansas’ Teen 2023. After being crowned in June in Little Rock, Ark., Bell has spent her time traveling all across Arkansas and the country volunteering and promoting causes that are important to her. Her journey to becoming Miss Arkansas’ Teen was one full of hard work, resilience and determination. Upon reflecting on her experiences, Bell found that the Lord’s plan for her was at the center of it all. She began competing to promote her service initiative, “Finish What He Started,” and quickly found that becoming Miss Arkansas’ Teen gave her the opportunity and the voice to advocate for a cause that is very close to her heart. 

“I started competing for Miss Arkansas’ Teen two years ago,” Bell said. “I started competing because my uncle passed away when I was 13 from an opioid addiction. My family and I started Finish What He Started: Opioid Abuse Awareness, which aims to educate and empower people of all ages about what they can do to play a part in fighting the opioid epidemic because it is the biggest drug epidemic in America. I work with Renewal Ranch and the Harbor Home here in Arkansas, and I love getting to partner with those organizations and share my story in order to pour into others the best that I can.” 

In addition to her work with her service initiative, Bell spends her time collaborating with other organizations, schools, businesses and people across the state. 

“I get the fun opportunity to kind of do a little bit of everything,” Bell said. “I get to work with a lot of cool sponsors that have accumulated over many years, and I get to travel to a lot of schools and civic organizations in Arkansas. I’ve spoken to students ranging from kindergarteners to high school students, and it’s definitely been a highlight of my year to meet and connect with students of all ages and see how they learn and grow as they age.” 

The work of Miss Arkansas’ Teen may seem overwhelming, but Bell handles it with grace. As a college student holding the title, Bell is in a rare position that few others can share. 

“My case is a unique one,” Bell said. “There has only been one other Miss Arkansas’ Teen who has been college-aged; everyone else has been in high school. So, I have relied on her a lot for advice about how to balance both college schoolwork and commitments and being Miss Arkansas’ Teen. I am also a member of the dance team here, so I do stay very busy. However, the Ouachita professors have been wonderful and are very accommodating and understanding about my busy schedule. The Ouachita community has been my backbone and something I know I can rely on. My calendar is always full, and my days normally consist of a lot of driving, but it has been incredible so far. I would not change a thing about it.” 

Miss Arkansas’ Teen is a part of the Miss America Organization, which means that Bell had the opportunity to compete with girls from every state for the title of Miss America’s Teen. The competition was held on Jan. 6-14 in Orlando, Fla. and consisted of a week and a half full of events, service opportunities and varying phases of competition that concluded with the new Miss America’s Teen 2024 being crowned. 

Allie Bell competes in the evening gown portion of the 2024 Miss America’s Teen Competition. Bell spent over a week in Florida with candidates from all 50 states, representing Arkansas on the national stage. (photo by Houston M. Photography)

“It’s very hard to find something to compare that experience to. I got to meet someone from literally every single state, and it was an eye-opening experience to see so many different people working for things they are passionate about,” Bell said. 

The final night of competition was held on Jan. 14, but the candidates competed in several phases of competition, including private interview, evening gown, fitness, onstage question and talent, leading up to the big night. 

“We always start out the week with a private interview with the judging panel. In those five minutes, I got the chance to share my heart with the judges about my service initiative and the job of Miss Arkansas’ Teen. For onstage competition, we all competed in the preliminary rounds of fitness, evening gown, onstage question and talent. The fitness portion is sponsored by Rebel Athletic and aims to promote healthy lifestyles. Evening gown is my favorite portion of the competition because I felt so confident and empowered walking across the stage in my gown. For my talent, I did a jazz dance to the song “It’s My Life,” and I’m excited to perform that again at Miss OBU on Feb. 3. And, for my onstage question, I answered a question about my service initiative for everyone in the audience. Competing on the stage is something I will never forget.”

While her time in Orlando was focused on vying for the title of Miss America’s Teen, Bell cherishes the memories made with her fellow contestants more than any award or title. 

“It’s tradition for Miss Hawaii and Miss Hawaii’s Teen to give every single contestant a tree planted in their name in Honolulu, so I came home with a certificate for my tree in Hawaii,” Bell said. “I would love to go visit my tree in the future. I also got very close with Miss Alabama’s Teen, and I already have plans to go visit her next month. It’s crazy to see how close we all got in just a week and a half. We were staying up late and getting up early, so there were definitely some silly moments that are the best memories.”

Bell will complete her time as Miss Arkansas’ Teen in June 2024, and she is looking forward to her future as an OBU student.

“I will serve as Miss Arkansas’ Teen for a full year, until June 2024,” Bell said. “Then, I will crown the next girl, and it’ll be her turn to pick up the title, put her own spin on it and continue forward. I have decided that after I give up my crown, I will be taking a break for a little bit. I’m going to take a step back and enjoy college. It’s been phenomenal, and I would never change it, but it’s time to find new ways to serve as an OBU student and as Allie. I’ve learned and grown so much throughout this year, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me for the remainder of my time at Ouachita.”

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