LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As of last October, the state crowned the new Miss Louisiana Teen 2012. That lucky lady is Marlee Henry from right here in Lake Charles
Meet Marlee Henry, a teenage girl who loves to watch baseball and spend time with her family. You'd never guess the waitress from Southern Spice is a reigning beauty queen, Miss Louisiana Teen 2012 to be exact.
"Getting the title, them calling my name as Miss Louisiana," said Henry. "I just kind of froze and cried at the same time. I had that ugly cry going on."
Henry says her waitressing and a job at Joy's Ragdoll helped her develop into the person she has become.
"They actually help me with my title," said Henry. "Having to walk up to tables and randomly start a conversation, that helps. And having to help people pick out dresses and find out what's right for their body helps me picks out my gowns for my dresses. So they're very beneficial."
She is preparing for Miss Teen USA on July 28 in the Bahamas, something she says is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"It's just so rewarding to be able to help people and represent the state I love and that I've lived in all my life," said Henry.
Her platform is about preventing Melanoma. She encourages girls to love the skin they're in.
"I got white, and I was like I need to go to a tanning bed because tan is beautiful," said Henry. "But pale is beautiful also and people don't understand that. They think 'oh I need to be dark, that's what makes me pretty.' It's not what makes you pretty."
She says the Louisiana Teen title has changed her life, and she is now able to accept the direction her life has taken.
"No one's life is perfect, and everyone has their struggles," said Henry. "I definitely didn't want to talk about my struggle. I wen through a really tough divorce. Being able to speak about it now and help kids understand that it's never their fault. Stuff happens and being able to help them anyway possible is really rewarding."
Henry is also the reigning Miss Chili Festival. She'll pass on that title within a month.
The public can select one of the semi-finalists for Miss Teen USA. Voting will become available online at the end of the month. There will also be a send off for Marlee on July 15. It will be from 2 -4 PM at the Lake Charles Country Club, and everyone is invited to attend.