Nassau County Girls Place in State Pageant

three-little-princessesBy: Al Smith

Three local girls represented Nassau County this past weekend and placed in the State of Florida Finals for the Sunburst Beauty Pageant in Orlando, Florida. All three girls, 5 yr. old Megan Smith; 5 yr. old Morgan Benge; and 8 yr. old Darien Storey, qualified for the finals after placing regionally. The Florida Finals provided some of the toughest competition as it included the prettiest girls from all of Florida.

All three girls arrived in Orlando on Thursday afternoon in preparation for the pageant, which began Friday, with their pageant coach Mona Eagle. As the pageant kicked off Friday afternoon, it didn’t take long to realize the girls would have to be at their very best to have any chance of placing. Friday’s categories included Model Search, Swim Wear, and School Wear. The competition was extremely intense and the stress levels were high for the parents, Penny Smith, April Benge, and Kim Storey. However the girl’s coach, Mona Eagle, always seemed to be calm cool and collective as she prepared each of the girls before they went on stage. Ms. Eagle, of Jacksonville Florida, is one of the most well known pageant coaches not only in Florida but nation wide. She can be seen appearing on TLC’s television show, Little Miss Perfect, or visit her website at As competition wrapped-up Friday evening, it was obvious all three girls were on their game and that they were not the least bit intimidated by all the other beautiful girls against whom they were competing.

Saturday came early and the girls had to be up before 7 a.m. and were off to Ms. Eagle’s room in preparation for Saturday’s events which included the Interview, Beauty (formal wear), and Talent. Again, Ms. Eagle had them at the top of their game. The girls blazed through each of their interviews with the judges and then moved on to the highlight of the competition, Beauty, where each of them daunted their beautiful dresses. Again their coach, who not only trains them with the way they walk, talk, and even smile, but also prepares their hair and cosmetics, had the girls at the top of their game. Each one of them, as they took the stage, looked absolutely stunning.


Following Beauty was the final event, Talent. During the talent competition, 8 year old Darien wowed everyone with her vocals by singing a beautiful version of “Everything’s Coming up Roses”. 5 year old Megan performed a superb dance routine to the song, “Teach Me How to Shimmy”, and 5 year old Morgan performed a fantastic dance routine to the song, “Wild Child”.

As the competition wrapped up, speculation began. Parents Penny Smith and April Benge were on edge as they second guessed decisions they had made with things like the girl’s attire and talent choices. However the curtain had fallen and there was nothing more they could do. It was now up to the judges to decide.

As everyone awoke Sunday morning, they were obviously anxious and excited with the anticipation of the results coming soon. Again the girls dressed in their beautiful dresses and were off to the ballroom for the awards banquet. Once in the ballroom, it didn’t take long to realize all the hard work these beautiful little girls put in had paid off as their names began to be called to the stage time and time again. They put Nassau County on the map in Orlando this past weekend and each of them proudly announced where they were from. Especially Darien, I must admit I did chuckle a bit though, when she announced, “I’m 8 yr. Old Darien Storey from the beautiful Yulee, Florida.” The results are as follows:

Overall Beauty Completion:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Megan Smith 1st Runner-up, Morgan Benge 2nd Runner-up
7-10 yr Old Girls, Darien Storey 4th Runner-up
Talent Completion:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Megan Smith 1st Runner-up, Morgan Benge 3rd Runner-up
7-10 yr. Old Girls, Darien Storey 4th Runner-up
Portfolio Competition:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Morgan Benge 2nd Runner-up, Megan Smith 4th Runner-up
7-10 yr. Old Girls, Darien Storey 2nd Runner-up
School wear:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Morgan Benge 4th Runner-up
Model Search:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Morgan Benge 2nd Runner-up, Megan Smith 4th Runner-up
Swim wear:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Megan Smith Queen, Morgan Benge 3rd. Runner-up
Most Photogenic:
7-10 yr. Old Girls, Darien Storey 2nd Runner-up
Best Composite:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Morgan Benge 2nd Runner-up
Best Smile:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Morgan Benge
Best Personality:
5-6 yr. Old Girls, Megan Smith


Congratulation’s Girls! You represented Nassau County well! Because of their fantastic results, each of the girls qualified to move on to the Sunburst International Pageant held in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. achancetodance

    It is so nice to see our local talent being represented! I personally know each of these girls and am so proud of them. Not only are they beautiful on the outside, but they have a beauty that shines from within. Congratulations Girls, Ms Buffy

  2. bulldog218

    Great job Girls, we are so proud of you! Good Luck in Atlanta……….

  3. ameliadude

    As a parent of a beautiful daughter it makes me feel good to see some of Amelia Islands finest do so well in these competitions- Way To Go Girls. Keep it up and you will allways do well.

  4. monaeagle

    Wow!! My girls really made me so proud as they are not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. It was so nice to see the families and children cheering each other on. Way to go girls!!! As a coach for over 25 years I have and had several clients on the Nassau area”even two $10,000 winners of Sunburst Nat'l. One of them Darien Storey and Caleb Johnson. I have always said there must be something in that Nassau water as they have beautiful Children. So who knows what Atlanta will bring, may be soon a 3Rd $10,000 winner. You girls rocked the stage last week end and it showed that you really like what you do!! So Rock on girls. ALso congrats to baby Madison who won queen in the baby 0-15 month old girls, she is also from Nassau county. I think I might just bottle up your water and sell it LOl. WTG Girls

    Love all of you,

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