Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 20 December 2013 00:00
Two pint-size beauties are sweeping the top awards at local kiddie-pageants across the region. Sayjel and Shanel, daughters of Heinrick and Mojill Tan of Levittown, recently earned finalist spots in the National American Miss Pageant.
“My parents wanted me to not be shy anymore, but I am still shy,” said 8-year-old Sayjel. Her mother, Mojill, said pageantry has really helped both of her daughters over the past year. “We are happy that they are slowly coming out of their shyness,” she added.
Sayjel won the talent competition portion of the pageant. Her talents were gymnastics and also playing the piano. She also was a winner in the Top Model Search portion of the pageant.
Shanel earned the opportunity to participate in the national competition through scoring First Runner-up in the pageant’s Top Model Search. She excels in reading and math, and loves soccer, swimming, gymnastics, track, painting and piano. Sayjel helps out in the community also by participating in the read-a-thons, and in Swim Across America. Both girls swim in Bethpage and Levittown.
“I hope to keep doing this [pageants] until I am 100 years old,” said Sayjel. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. “If people have cancer, I want to be that kind of doctor.” Shanel was still a little shy, but shared, “I like ballet; I like the ‘mermaid dance.’”
Sayjel said when Shanel, 6, performs onstage she is not shy.
Sayjel said the hardest part about the pageants is public speaking, but her mother said that having both girls in pageants, and ensuring that her daughters don’t compete against each other, is the biggest challenge.
In school, Sayjel is on her school’s Advance Math Honor Roll. She recently earned a gold medal in the Levittown Swimming Association swimming championship. On Dec. 12, Sayjel won the National Noetic Math Contest — National Honor Roll. She scored at the top 3 percent out of the best math students in the nation who participated in the contest. Her score ranked second in New York.
Shanel is preparing to participate in the Jan. 12 fashion show Fashionistas Rule. Sayjel is preparing to participate in a summer fashion show; she recently finished shooting an episode for PBS Sprout.