Ms Maryland Teen USA : I Am 100% Bulgarian
Interview with Stephanie Chervenkov(a) - Miss Maryland Teen USA 2012.
In October 2011, Stephanie was crowned in a contest with 800 of the most beautiful young women in her state, of whom 80 reached the finals.
When asked by the jury what she could tell them about herself, she answered: "I am 100% Bulgarian." Stephanie also shared as her most memorable experience climbing up with her father the Cherni Vrah Peak in the Vitosha Mountain, near Bulgaria's capital Sofia several years ago.
Stephanie will compete next year in the final of the Miss Teen USA competition.
The new Ms. Maryland Teen has been born to a Bulgarian expat family in the US. She speaks fluent Bulgarian, even though she had been to the country a few times only.
The family lives in Bel Air, MD.
The interview is courtesy especially for Novinite.com from our friends at the Chicago-based Eurochicago.com – the largest Bulgarian media outlet in North America. Chicago is home of the largest Bulgarian community on the new continent.
What is your most memorable moment from the competition?
Stephanie: The memories of meeting so many wonderful young ladies, the friendships I made, the party on Saturday evening – had a blast, and of course my crowning moment, an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life.
What was the reaction of the jury when you told them that you feel 100% Bulgarian even though you were born in the US?
I was born and raised in Maryland but my Bulgarian heritage is something I am proud of. Both of my parents are from Sofia and most of my relatives still live in Bulgaria. At home we speak Bulgarian and I was raised with Bulgarian traditions. I hope that the judges were impressed by my answer that I am 100% Bulgarian.
Please tell us a little about yourself, what were you doing before the pageant?
I am a senior at The John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland. I am an honor roll student and a member of the National Art Honor Society. At school and in my free time I enjoy painting, drawing, and photography. I like to exercise and dance as well. I love to visit museums, art galleries, and to go to musicals. I volunteer in my community at places like Anna's House and Eden Mills Nature Center. I will continue my education by attending one of the many wonderful Universities in Maryland this fall.
Did your life change after the contest, what will you be doing now?
My life has already changed after the pageant. I had an interview at a local TV station, something I have never done before. Since my crowning moment, I've had appearances at local youth centers and local schools. I am proud and honored to represent my state in the upcoming year as well as to represent it at Miss Teen USA this summer.
What advice would you give the thousands of girls, who wish that they were in your place?
I would tell all the girls: follow your dreams and be true to yourself, "Dream it, believe it, do it."
What role did your Bulgarian mother play in your successes?
My mom is the person who raised me, who has been there for me always, and a person I know I can depend on for anything. She supports me 100% in everything I am involved in. The decision to compete in a pageant was all mine, but my mom has helped me with the preparations – buying dresses, choosing hair styles, applying make-up, and practicing interview questions.
Have you been to Bulgaria and what does Bulgaria mean to you?
Yes, I have been to Bulgaria five times already. I love visiting all my relatives and friends who I miss very much. Bulgaria is a beautiful country, I like the Black Sea especially Golden Sands which is my favorite resort. I love the beautiful mountains with its picturesque views.
What do your friends know about Bulgaria and what do they associate it with?
Unfortunately, my friends know very little about Bulgaria, what they know is what I have told them, pictures I have shown them, and souvenirs I have given them. They all have said how beautiful Bulgaria is and that they would love to visit it one day.
Do you have anything from Bulgaria in your home, like a souvenir or memory from Bulgaria?
We have lots of Bulgarian items like paintings, hand-made table cloths, icons, many traditional dolls, and albums with pictures from our visits to Bulgaria.
Do you use Bulgarian cooking recipes? If so, what is your favorite one?
Of course, we eat Bulgarian cuisine, my mom is the cook in the house and she prepares many delicious meals. Some of my favorite dishes are stuffed peppers, banica, lentil soup, yogurt, and my favorite drink is Fanta (the one sold in Bulgaria).
Are you familiar with some of the Bulgarian traditions and do you celebrate Bulgarian holidays?
We celebrate many Bulgarian traditions like "Вudni vecher" with it traditional meals, „Imeni dni", Christmas, Easter – I love the Easter bread my mom makes and my favorite is Baba Marta – it is my birthday. I love to exchange martenizi and I also love to wear one throughout the month of March.
What are your future plans and dreams? What do you hope to accomplish?
In my near future I plan to continue my education by attending a local University and I hope that I can bring the crown back to Maryland when I compete in the Miss Teen USA pageant this coming summer.
Is there anything you would like to tell the Bulgarian people and Bulgaria?
I wish all Bulgarian people health, happiness and love!
A question for the mom and the dad: What is the most special and strong quality in your daughter?
Our daughter is honest, sincere, kind hearted, and fun loving young lady. She will help anyone in need. She puts a smile on our faces every time we see her. As her parents we cannot be more proud of her achievements and accomplishments. To us she will be always be our little girl with big brown eyes and pony tails.
Do you have other children? Were they in the shadows of their sibling during the competition? Please tell us something about them.
Our son Vladimir is very proud to have Stephanie as his big sister. He is nine years old and in couple of months will get his black belt in Taekwondo. His dream is one day to have an Olympic gold medal in Taekwondo.
Would you be willing to come visit us in Chicago?
We have never visited the "windy city" but would love to have the opportunity in the future to do so. Thank you for your invitation!
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