Vanessa Adwoa Rose Smith, a Ghanaian resident in the United States, has won Teen Universe USA after winning the same pageant for the state of Arizona, Ghanaian media myjoyonline.com reports. 19-year-old Smith will represent the USA in Spain in February next year.
A systems engineering student at Arizona State University, Smith’s father, Charles Smith, is a Ghanaian while her mom, Hawa Smith, is from Sierra Leone. Smith entered pageantry because she wanted to be “versatile and adaptable”, she said.
“I love school and everything in between but I also love the arts. I am so grateful to have parents who have supported and encouraged me through every venture I took on,” the new Miss Teen Universe USA said after her win.
Being a science student in pageantry, Smith believes that certain people may not see a correlation between the arts and STEM. But the desire to not limit herself to one identity is what also inspired her to pursue pageantry. Pageantry, she said, “can show all different sides to you. You can be studious and ambitious all while being poise, beautiful and leading with your character.”
The Ghanaian student is currently preparing for the international competition that will be held in Spain. “I continuously do work throughout my community, mainly focusing on the youth. I am very adamant about advocating for the youth because I know personally how much we have to offer, but as young people it is harder to be taken seriously. We are the future and my mission is to provide the youth with as much resources to make a successful future.”
Smith, who is Arizona’s Top Model 2023, was also a student of Hamilton High School.