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Miss Washington National Teenager eyes career on Broadway
Holly Wasson intends to see her name in lights — and she has plenty of opportunities to do it.
Wasson, who will be a senior at Olympic High School this fall, is the reigning Miss Washington National Teenager — and an aspiring stage performer.
“I love to act and sing musical theater and Broadway,” she said. “That’s what I hope to do someday.”
Wasson’s first experience with musical theater was playing an orphan in “Annie” in fourth grade.
“I just kind of always loved to perform,” she said. “I knew I wanted to sing and perform and bring people together through that.”
She got her start in the America’s National Teenager program through a friend who was aware of her love of volunteering. Wasson, 16, was crowned as Washington’s representative in March.
America’s National Teenager, the longest running premier pageant for teens in the U.S., draws on a positive approach to pageantry that implements a scoring system focusing on a “real girl.”
“It was a wide-open door waiting for me to walk in,” she said. “It just changed the whole course of my direction.”
Wasson plans to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater, but is unsure of where she will attend college. She has been offered a two-year scholarship to Oklahoma City University worth $30,000, for winning an America’s National Teenager state pageant.
“I’m going to check it out,” she said. “They have a really great musical-theater program.”
On her college applications will be plenty of community service. As Wasson puts it, “I’ve just always been involved.”
Wasson helps teach a weekly workshop through the Boys & Girls Club called the Smart Girls Program, which empowers local girls.
“I love working with younger girls,” she said. “I know what a tough time elementary and middle school can be.”
She added that she created a program called Girl Power when she was 13 to help adolescent girls set goals for healthy lifestyles, self-confidence and making friends.
“That probably is my biggest accomplishment in the community,” she said of the 20 workshops she has held over the last three of four years for girls in kindergarten to sixth grade.
She also has been volunteering with Habitat For Humanity since fourth grade.
“My favorite part is after,” she said. “You know you created a house for someone who truly needed it. It just feels so great. You’re crying and they’re crying.
“That’s probably the most rewarding experience.”
Wasson transferred from Central Kitsap to Olympic this past winter in hopes of getting more one-on-one choir training. She also hopes to land a part in the school’s fall performance of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”
“I’m loving it,” she said. “I really want to do musical theater.”
Wasson has a busy summer planned. On Sunday, she leaves for the Young Actors Theater Camp in Santa Cruz, Calif. Upon returning on July 21, she leaves again that night, for the America’s National Teenager national competition in San Antonio.
And she wants to put in as much time as possible helping in the community.
“Summer break is going to be a crazy couple of months,” she said.
But she’s used to it.
Through this week, Wasson has completed 72 appearances as Miss Washington National Teenager, many of which have been in Kitsap County. Among her stops have been the Fathoms o’Fun festival and several rotary programs.
At the national competition, Wasson will go through a one-on-one interview, record a voiceover, decorate a pair of jeans describing who she is — hers will be Hollywood themed — and sing in the talent competition. She will also don a rain slicker, boots and a Space Needle dress for the state modeling contest.
Doing these things is just another step toward her future, which she speculates could take her anywhere from sound stages to the recording studio.
“I’m also really interested in film work, television and commercials,” she said.
After all, performing is performing.
“I know that’s what I’m meant to do.”