Tiffanie Vaughan, executive director of the Miss Cy-Fair Houston Organization, said she wants people to view her event as more than the fake teeth and outrageous hair that typifies pageants seen on reality T.V.

“The pageantry world is a small community, and I’m definitely a part of it, but I try not to make [Miss Cy-Fair Houston] about pageantry,” she said. “Our pageant is about building up the kids in the community, showing support to the businesses in the area and local schools.”

Participants are required to live in Cy-Fair, attend school within the district or have parents that work in the area. Titleholders make a yearlong commitment to make appearances and serve the community, Vaughan said.

The organization partners with local nonprofit Cy-Hope, which has three Hope Centers offering homework help, life skill classes and recreation for children in underserved neighborhoods. All pageant participants collect board games, craft supplies, dolls, books and other toys for the program, Vaughan said.

“I’m trying to make the pageant about who they are as a person, not necessarily about beauty or the dress they have,” she said. “Although there are small awards for best dressed and best hair, the title is about what you stand for as a Cy-Fair resident.”

As soon as a girl becomes a titleholder within the organization, they must come up with a platform, or something they believe strongly in, Vaughan said. Because most girls that come in are not from the pageant world, Vaughan said she helps them think about what issues they care about and how they can make a difference.

“I want them to leave the year knowing that they’ve left a mark somewhere,” she said. “Our preteen [Miss Cy-Fair Houston Junior Miss Lauren Compton,] right now has struggled with bullying—so much so that she’s had to move schools in the past. Her winning this title really helped her confidence, and we’ve been able to touch on the platform of bullying.”

Compton was invited to speak to fourth grade girls at Cy-Fair ISD’s Lowery Elementary School. Vaughan said this is an example of how her organization opens doors that would not have been available otherwise.

The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce first launched the Miss Cy-Fair Houston pageant in 2010. Vaughan was initially brought in to judge, and later helped run the pageant when it was invited to be a preliminary contest for Miss Texas.

In 2016, Vaughan decided to break ties with Miss Texas and closed the competition to girls who did not have ties to Cy-Fair.

“It was moving beyond what our core focus was,” she said. “For us, we were investing in the girls of Cy-Fair. Once it fell under the Miss Texas umbrella, that became the focus for a lot of our contestants.”

National America Miss now gives each titleholder a $550 scholarship to their pageant so they still have an opportunity to advance and represent Cy-Fair, Vaughan said.

The 2017 pageant takes place April 23. On the Saturday night before the pageant, contestants meet at the venue to rehearse their routines and become comfortable with the other girls at a pizza pajama party. While there are many misconceptions about the world of pageantry, Vaughan said lasting friendships are typically a positive outcome.

Additionally, public speaking, interviewing and writing skills help girls later in life when applying for colleges or sororities, Vaughan said. Between the interview portion and the on-stage question, 60 percent of each contestant’s final score is based on personality, she said.

Vaughan said she and her husband teach their children to have a positive impact everywhere they go. The two own a local business, Monarch Real Estate, and are active at Second Baptist Church.

“I feel like my kids will be here [in Cy-Fair], and my grandkids will be here,” she said. “We do anything we can to give back.”

Miss Cy-Fair Houston 2017
April 23 • Noon
Cypress Academy of Performing Arts
11707 Huffmeister Road, Ste. B, Houston