A love for dance and music became the impetus for a friendship through the Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska Outstanding Teen competitions. That relationship has continued for Emma Wilkinson and Alexandra Thompson.
Wilkinson will be competing in June for the title of Miss Nebraska, and Thompson is in the Outstanding Teen program. They were paired when Wilkinson competed in the Outstanding Teen competition in 2016 and Thompson was selected as her “Princess,” which is similar to the Miss Nebraska Little Sisters program. Both are from North Platte.
“I dance at the Dance Factory and Emma used to dance there as well,” Thompson said. “We’d do little mini-recitals in class and during the big recitals, I would go watch her.”
Thompson said she thought Wilkinson was a beautiful dancer.
“I don’t know how old she was, she was so young, but I was 17,” Wilkinson said. “We went to the same dance studio growing up and her mother taught at the dance studio, so I’ve known her for some time.”
On March 20, five years later, the young women competed in their respective programs in La Vista.
“I didn’t know she was going to get into this competition until about two weeks before the pageant and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Thompson said. “I was hoping she was going to win it.”
Thompson competed first and won the Outstanding Teen program, and a short time later, Wilkinson was crowned Miss Sandhills.
“She’s always very encouraging to me and always uplifting me,” Wilkinson said. “She even gave me a little gift that year she was my princess and I still have it to this day. It’s sitting on my dresser.”
Wilkinson said it’s like a “big sister, little sister” relationship.
“I think it’s neat Alli and I have stayed connected past the pageant as well,” Wilkinson said.
Although both started in dance, singing is also a major interest for them.
“A couple of the pageants I watched, she actually sang and that’s what started me singing for my pageant,” Thompson said. “I love singing and she is really the person who inspired me to do that.”
Wilkinson is a senior at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and is the daughter of Mark and Carrie Wilkinson. She is studying biology at Baylor and then will go into dentistry at the University of Nebraska next school year.
“Four years ago I competed as Miss Twin Rivers, which was the last time I competed at Miss Nebraska,” Wilkinson said. “Now I’m going back as Miss Sandhills.”
Thompson is 13 years old, which is the youngest a person can participate in the Outstanding Teen competition. Her parents are Audri Pelton Johnson and Ryan Thompson.
“I was confident, but I was surprised to win the first pageant I ever competed in,” Thompson said.
Wilkinson will be singing “Think of Me” from “Phanton of the Opera,” and Thompson selected “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman.”
“Honestly, I’m just going to do my best and I’m just going make sure I have fun,” Thompson said. “I think that’s a really big thing. You just want to be as prepared as you can be and have as much fun as you can.”
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