When she decided to compete in the Miss Fort Worth Pageant on Nov. 28., only her parents and close friends were in attendance when she won.
“I didn’t really tell anyone I was doing Miss Fort Worth because you just never know how the outcome is going to go,” Tew said.
Tew, who expects to graduate with a degree in biology in May, also expects to compete one month later in the Miss Texas pageant in June.
She plans to attend medical school and study endocrinology down the road.
“I’m particularly interested in adolescent endocrinology, during that time there is a lot going on with the human body,” Tew said.
In addition to being a member and ambassador of the Honors College, Tew is also a Chancellor’s Scholar, awarded as TCU’s most prestigious scholarship. She is also a member of Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honors Society, Phi Sigma Iota National foreign language Honor Society, National Society Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta and Golden Key Honor Society.
Prepping for the pageant
Tew’s pageant experience prior to Miss Fort Worth came in the Miss High School Alabama contest during her senior year of high school. Before that, she participated in the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program (formerly known as Junior Miss).
Tew said she danced her whole life and loves being on stage, and her decision to compete in a pageant seemed like a natural progression.
“One of the incredible things about pageants is it gives you a lot of life skills, and with that it teaches you how to communicate, encourages you to take care of yourself and present yourself to the best of your ability,” Tew said. “After winning Miss High School Alabama I really got the bug!”
Tew decided to wait a few years and focus on school before considering another pageant.
“College is a big transition and I really wanted to focus on academics, and this year I felt like I could take on another project,” Tew said.
Suzette Tew, Miriam’s mother, said she was supportive of Miriam but knew how time consuming the preparation for pageants could be.
“I was concerned about her having time, but I said we would support her doing it–we like to be a part of anything she does,” Suzette Tew said.
Tew spent months preparing for the Miss Fort Worth pageant by training in the gym and attending coaching sessions in preparation her for her interview and onstage question, which includes staying educated and forming her own opinion on current events.
“It was very time consuming,” Tew said. “I had to prepare for the different portions of the pageant: interview, swimsuit, evening gown, talent and an onstage question.”
Tew spent time in Ed Landreth Hall where she practiced her talent, playing the Harp.
“It has been a pleasure to work with her on her harp selection for the pageant,” said Laura Brandenburg, harp teacher and TCU School of Music faculty member.
Tew described her harp selection, Baroque Flamenco, as “unexpected, sassy, and vibrant–the audience seemed to love it.”
Tew described her harp selection, Baroque Flamenco, as “unexpected, sassy, and vibrant — the audience seemed to love it.”
Tew also said that pageants give her an outlet for her platform, domestic violence awareness – a cause she was initially drawn to through her sorority.
“We do a lot of work with The Women’s Center for Tarrant County,” she said. “I’ve been very involved with the Women’s Center and Alpha Chi, so it’s something that is very close to my heart.”
Tew was the Models and Retailers Chair for the Alpha Chi Omega fashion show in 2014. Alpha Chi Omega set a record number for proceeds, which were then donated to The Women’s Center for Tarrant County.
Camille Grager, Vice President of Membership Programming for Alpha Chi Omega, said Tew’s position was responsible for organizing models from different Greek organizations, getting clothes from venders, and finding stylists to do hair and makeup for the show.
“It’s quite the undertaking and requires a lot of time and stylistic talent,” Grager said.
Headed for ‘Miss Texas’
When it comes to managing her time, Tew said her self-determination and organization made all the difference, and will continue to do so as she balances school and preparation for Miss Texas.
“It really helps that I’m organized; I’m the queen of sticky notes, and I really dedicate specific time to getting my school work time so in my extra time, I can dedicate it to prepping for the upcoming pageant,” she said.
As far as school is concerned, Tew said her education will always be a priority for her as it has been in the past.
Dr. Richard Enos, Professor & Holder of Lillian Radford Chair of Rhetoric & Composition at TCU, had Miriam as a student during the fall semester.
“She was so bright and outgoing, the experience in the classroom was fantastic,” Enos said. “Many years ago when I worked on TCU’s mission statement, I had visions of students like Miriam.”
Enos said that Tew not only captures the spirit and identity of TCU, but does so in a genuine, sincere, and self effacing way.
“I saw this wonderful person who is bright, intelligent, hardworking, humble, I’m telling you the truth it exactly how she is,” Enos said. “She is a hard working, she is a wonderful representative of not only TCU but of Forth Worth, so winning Miss Fort Worth– she deserves that. ”
Chandra Naylor, Tew’s aunt, said “It does not surprise me that she won, she looks like a winner, she behaves like a winner, she is the type of young woman who is exactly what the people in charge of pageants are looking for.”
Sherry and Jim Hanson have been Executive Directors of the Miss Fort Worth & Teen Fort Worth, Duncanville & Coppell Pageants for 34 years.
In terms of competing in Miss Texas, Sherry Hanson said they plan to help her through the process.
“We want to help her and improve anything we can without changing her, the goal is to present her in the best possible light.” Hanson said.
Tew said she believes in her ability to become Miss America, and depending on how the pageant goes in June, she might be taking more than a gap year.
In the coming months, Tew will be tending to some of her responsibilities as Miss Fort Worth, some of which have started already.
On Dec. 11, Tew was present for the Cowboy Santa’s Toy Drive in Sundance Square Plaza.
Tew will also be present for SoupMobile’s 11th annual “Celebrate Jesus Christmas Gala,” where 500 homeless men, women and children will spend Christmas in the Omni Hotel.
At the moment, Tew is looking at different graduate schools and post baccalaureate programs.
“Who knows, if I win Miss Texas, I’ll really be busy in that year and then in the following year I hope to be enrolled in medical school,” said Tew. “My time at TCU and in Fort Worth has really fostered a love for Texas, the people, the culture; so I hope I get into a Texas Medical school.”
In the meantime, Tew plans to stay focused on her role as Miss Fort Worth and continue on her path to graduation.
“I would love to be Miss Texas, I believe that I can be Miss America,” said Tew. “At the end of the day I have to be confident with myself and who I am. My biggest competition is me.”