Natalie Poveda of Grapevine, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen winner, was a late entry into the pageant world … and keeps winning

By guruscotty September 14, 2023 No Comments

Natalie Poveda of Grapevine, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen winner, was
a late entry into the pageant world … and keeps winning

By Joy Donovan

Those who don’t know better could be forgiven for thinking it was just beginner’s luck that helped Natalie Poveda, a Grapevine teen, win Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen competition during her first-ever entry into the pageant world.

But those people don’t know Natalie.

As Miss Teen Colleyville, she won the Outstanding Teen 2023 title in July at the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson. The statewide teen competition, an official affiliate of the Miss America Organization, included 48 contestants. In addition to the title, Natalie won a total of $10,250 in college scholarships.

Those who do know Natalie weren’t all that surprised, even though  many of the contestants she was up against were longtime pageant participants. The person who wasn’t expecting Natalie to win? Maybe Natalie.

“I didn’t really know what to think, because I went into the week focused on my competition,” she said. “So, I went into it trying to do my best and represent my community.”

Her local pageant co-directors, Erin Verrett and Tonya Johannsen, knew from their first conversation with Natalie that she was an intelligent leader.

“She exudes confidence, grace and has a servant’s heart, all qualities of a Miss Texas’ Teen,” Verrett said.

Poveda won Miss Texas in her first try at a pageant. Photo courtesy of BluDoor Studios

Natalie Poveda graduated from Grapevine High School this spring. And then she entered and won Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen. Photo courtesy of BluDoor Studios

It’s as if the brainy 2023 Grapevine High School graduate was preparing for the pageant without ever knowing it. The competition is judged on components that include talent, fitness and interviews.

“Something that’s unique about Natalie, she had the skill set she had built up unknowingly with the experiences she had in high school,” said Britan Mills Robertson, Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen program director. “She had the leadership skills more than anything, not because she went to a modeling coach or a pageant coach, but because she had developed the skills to take on this role and the opportunity.”

Natalie took 15 advanced placement classes in high school and graduated with a 5.23 GPA. She began taking dance lessons at 3 and eventually served as an officer for her high school’s Fabulous Fillies drill team. That made her talent portion — performing a lyrical dance to the song “Rise Up” — one of the easier aspects of the competition for her.

Making speeches was a part of her membership in the DECA student organization, so answering questions onstage was not that nerve-wracking. Serving as her high school student body treasurer, Metroport National Charity League class president, Spanish honor society president, head of the Veterans Day committee and head of homecoming gave her a background for the contest’s required community service initiative.

Servant leadership is her chosen platform with her new title and is what she will promote as she travels throughout the state.

“I get inspired by the impact made through volunteering,” she said recently. “When you see all the work you put in and it pays off. Things like that keep me going.”

Being a “pageant girl” was never in Natalie’s plans. In fact, she was talked into entering her local pageant at the last minute, and she even wore a free evening gown. Because her mom didn’t want to buy her a dress,  Natalie went to Chic Boutique, a prom dress giveaway shop. She surprised herself when she won the Miss Colleyville Teen title and didn’t realize there would be a statewide contest coming next.

Since the bright girl with the big eyes is a quick study, she’s learned rapidly that she likes the pageant world.

“Honestly, going into the pageant, everything was new, but it was so nice, because the pageant world is so connected,” she said of the experience. “I got so close to the girls, and it was so nice to see how the women are such a supportive network.”

The new Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen has deep roots in the state she now represents. Her maternal grandparents owned a 1,000-acre ranch in Wichita County, and since it was the original headquarters of the legendary 6666 Ranch, a historical marker sits on the property. Born in Grapevine, she’s the daughter of Larisa and Tony Poveda and the sister of brothers Mark and Max.

“The pageant world is so connected,” Poveda said. “I got so close to the girls, and it was so nice to see how the women are such a supportive network.” Photo courtesy of BluDoor Studios

Natalie Poveda entered the pageant at the last minute and — her mother reluctant to buy a new dress for the competition — wore a free evening gown Poveda obtained at a prom dress giveaway shop. Photo courtesy of BluDoor Studios

Natalie is the first to win the state pageant title as an incoming college freshman. She started her studies at Texas A&M in August, majoring in business. Opportunities to travel the state will be weighed against her college experience, and making decisions will be based on one priority.

“School comes first for us,” Robertson said. “Academics are the priority, and we want her to have every opportunity in front of her but want her to pursue her academics.”

Pursuing academics is important to Natalie, because her goal is business management with thoughts of continuing to law school. In early 2024, she will represent Texas at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant, although the date and site have not been announced. And in summer 2024, she plans to pursue the title of  Miss Texas, as she will be old enough next year.

After all, that crown is fun to wear.

“I like it,” Natalie said. “I have to always make sure I put it on straight.”