Chandler Elementary School 4th grader Justice Holben is representing Indiana at the National American Miss competition in Anaheim, Calif. this week.

Justice Holben, 9, is currently the Miss Indiana Jr. Pre Teen. She is also the reigning Pre Teen Miss Shrinefest and Jr. Miss Chandler.

The beauty queen started doing pageants when she was 6-years-old, kicking things off with the National American Miss pageant.

"And that is why I am here right now," she said. "Because this year, I came back and won."

Although winning these pageants is hard work, Justice Holben has the time of her life participating in them.

"They are so fun and I love making new friends," she said. "My favorite part is the outfit of choice, because that is when I get to wear one of my more fun outfits and do my special thing, which is my dance."

Those dances include tap and acro-jazz. And sometimes, she even sings.

"I've sang, 'I'm In Love With A Monster,' 'Merry Christmas Remix,' 'Reflection' from 'Mulan,' and I've also sang 'Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer,' " Justice Holben said.

And the National American Miss competition is no joke, with four different parts.

"There is the formal wear, a community service aspect and there is the personal introduction and an interview," said Ruth Holben, Justice's mother. "They have to go into a room and be interviewed by six judges, so it's not just a beauty pageant."

But Justice Holben isn't intimidated at all.

"That is the time where I get to tell them who I am and let my personality shine," she said.

For the community service part, Justice Holben helped to hand out poppies to veterans as a junior member of the American Legion Auxiliary in Newburgh.

"Even when I am not holding a title where I have to do volunteer work, I just do it all of the time because it is so fun to me," Justice Holben said. "And it makes me feel really good to be there and be doing it."

She is also very excited to be representing Indiana this week.

"It feels amazing," Justice Holben said. "I'm actually very proud of myself and I feel like I've really progressed a lot throughout the years to where I am now."

As for the future, Justice Holben dreams of being a foster mom.

"When I was younger, I was actually in foster care," she said. "And I want to help other kids find a family they can have forever and be so lucky just like I did."

Marisa Patwa is a graduate of the University of Evansville with a degree in journalism and minor in political science.

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