For nine-year-old Lila Truex, pageantry is about making lasting friendships with her fellow pageant participants that she meets from all over the country.

Lila Truex waits in anticipation to find out if she has won the title, America’s Ideal Miss Princess 2023.
Photo by Sheldon Smith Photography.

“I can meet girls from all over the world with a common interest in pageantry,” said Lila. “We have so much fun at competitions and are able to stay in touch after. Rather than competing against each other, we say we compete with each other.” 

In July, girls from all over the country converged on the Avalon in Alpharetta to compete in the America’s Ideal Miss Pageant in which Lila was crowned the 2023 America’s Ideal Miss Princess. This gave Lila the perfect opportunity to make new friendships and strengthen existing ones. 

“My first runner-up and I became great friends throughout competition week,” said Lila. “When she and I were the last two standing, I knew I would be happy regardless of the outcome. I would have been thrilled for her but was so very honored when I was called the winner.”

The first runner-up (right) and last year’s queen celebrate their her friend Lila Truex winning the America’s Ideal Miss Princess 2023 crown.
Photo by Sheldon Smith Photography.

Like Lila, her mother Madison Truex values the human aspect of pageantry whether it’s during the pageants or while serving others.

“The best parts of pageantry for her are spent backstage with her friends and throughout the year working on their community service initiatives together,” said Madison. “She has also been introduced to people through her community service initiatives that she may not have met otherwise.”

Lila got her start in pageants when she was four years old in the Little Miss Buford Pageant. She won that first pageant in 2019 and was crowned Petite Miss Buford. Ever since that first pageant, Lila has been working hard and has learned so much along the way.

Lila collects more than 500 pairs of pajamas to donate to Jambos for foster children in need.
Photo courtesy of Madison Truex.

“I have learned that I can put myself out of my comfort zone,” said Lila. “Although it may be uncomfortable to walk on a large stage with an audience or talk to adults, I am able to because I am brave and prepared.”

“Lila is confident, intelligent, compassionate and determined,” said Madison. “Each of these qualities is nourished and encouraged through pageantry.”

A large part of pageantry is community service and Lila has two causes that mean a lot to her. She collects pajamas for a Buford-based non-profit called Jambo’s. Jambo’s collects and distributes new pajamas for foster children. Lila has collected more than 500 pairs of pajamas so far. A goal for Lila is to double that number in the future.

Lila and her friends have started a project called Linked Together which creates “sustainable sleeping mats using repurposed grocery bags.” The mats are donated to people in the community that are experiencing homelessness.

Lila (second from the left) along with her pageant friends create sustainable sleep mats like the one they are laying on, for the homeless. Photo by Kelly Hansard.

“This project has grown nationwide, drawing donations from other states,” said Lila. “We host virtual and in-person events to teach others how to prepare their grocery bags to make mats.”   

Lila often works on her service projects with fellow national pageant queens that, like herself, attend Buford City Schools. Lila, Gabriella, Haylee and Bryxton have bonded over giving back to the community. 

A lot is expected of Lila as the 2023 America’s Ideal Miss Preteen. Ideal is an acronym that stands for Impactful, Dynamic, Encouraging, Authentic and Loyal. 

“A national queen should have all these qualities and display them throughout her reign,” said Lila.

(L-R) America’s Ideal Miss 2023 national winners for Junior Princess, Princess (Lila) and Preteen.
Photo by Sheldon Smith Photography.

Throughout the year, Lila will make appearances representing the America’s Ideal Miss Pageant organization including the New York Fashion Week in September. She will also be attending the state pageants leading up to the 2024 nationals.

America’s Ideal Miss Princess 2023 Lila Truex walks along Main Street in downtown Buford, Ga.
Photo by Alicia Payne

Even with such a full schedule, Lila has managed to be on a swim team during the summer and does tumbling throughout the year. 

She excels in school where she is a fourth-grader at Buford Senior Academy. Lila has earned straight A’s since kindergarten. She has received awards for leadership, manners, kindness, citizenship and writing from her teachers over the years. 

A dog and two cats also keep Lila busy. Her parents Kevin and Madison are perhaps the busiest of all with having to keep up with Lila and her two older sisters, 15-year-old Kaylin and 12-year-old Brooke.

To see more of what Lila has been doing through America’s Ideal Miss Pageant organization, visit her Instagram page of her serving as Ideal Miss Georgia Princess and the Instagram page for America’s Ideal Miss Princess.

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