AMBOY — It took some support.
It took some advice.
It took some courage.
When Myla Davis was able to put those three intangibles together with others and mix them in a pot, she decided it was time for her to enter the 2022 Miss Amboy Pageant at Amboy Depot Days.
“My parents, other family members, and my sponsors (Amanda Walters and Sierra Vaessen) talked me into doing the pageant,” Davis said. “They all really encouraged me to step up and speak. It was definitely a little nerve racking, but after my speech, I definitely had a lot more fun and I was relaxed.”
Davis, a 14-year-old freshman at Amboy High School, never thought she would step on a stage, especially for a pageant.
However, after her speech, she knocked the one question asked to her and the other Miss Amboy contestant, Maggie Keene, out of the park.
Davis was then crowned the 2022 Miss Amboy.
“I was asked, “How do you like high school compared to junior high and what is the difference between the two? I thought I answered it pretty well,” said Davis, who moved to Amboy from Mendota when she was 6. “I definitely could have said more and maybe elaborated a little more, but overall, I think I answered the question way better than I did my speech.
“I couldn’t believe that I won. I thought I did super bad on my speech since I didn’t remember most of it. I was kind of going off of just what I was thinking at the moment.”
Davis and Keene were actually the closest in points between queen and runner-up according to Emily Zimmerman, who has run Miss Amboy since 2016.
“It was the closest race that we’ve ever had. Usually, the judges don’t point out the point difference to me, but it was very important to the judges this go around to make it known that there was only a two-point difference,” said Zimmerman. “The only thing that I can possibly think of is, Myla is just a little bit older.
“Maggie, an eighth grader, is one brave girl. It goes by age and she is an older eighth grader. I’ve never had an eighth grader or anyone in junior high brave enough to go out for Miss Amboy. I’m extremely happy for Myla and incredibly proud of Maggie for taking a daring leap of faith and doing something I don’t think anybody has done in the history of Miss Amboy before.”
Zimmerman was also blown away that Davis or Keene didn’t want much help with the pageant.
“I offered to work with the girls on their speeches and peer review them if need be. Neither of the girls took me up on the offer,” Zimmermain said. “I was really impressed with how their speeches went. I think they did a phenomenal job.
“They both seem pretty introverted. I think it just goes to getting outside of their comfort zone and doing something extraordinary compared to their peers. They both did a fantastic job.”
After donning the tiara, Davis was the definition of busy during Depot Days.
Davis walked around the carnival meeting new people, handed out awards for the 5K and the car show, choose her favorite car at the car show, was in the parade, and for a little extra fun, got in the dunk tank.
It was an exciting time for Davis, whose favorite subject is social studies because there are different varieties to choose from, is part of the Amboy dance, cheer, and softball teams, enjoys Outter Banks when in front of the TV, likes white better than any color, giggles when she says pickles are her favorite food, and wants to explore all of Europe.
“I think it was super amazing and fun. I think more people should be in the pageant,” Davis said. “I never thought I’d be on stage doing it until I actually was, and it was a really great experience.”
It’s a good possibility Davis could be part of the Miss Amboy fraternity Zimmerman is trying to create.
For this year’s pageant, Zimmerman – who was Miss Amboy 2001 – had Rayven Wehling (2016 Miss Amboy) as the first queen to be a judge, and last year’s winner, Dana Merriman, was present the day of the initial contestant interviews and talked to Davis and Keene about the pageant process.
Zimmerman hopes this becomes an annual tradition as Miss Amboy alumni join together to help turn teenagers into young women.