alana-a-starke_web.jpgPLANTATION — Miami resident Alana A. Starke, a ninth-grade International Baccalaureate student at Coral Gables High School, has won the Miss Florida Teen Essence crown.

Alana is the daughter of Leonardo Starke, an attorney, and La Untrice Starke, a teacher trainer with Miami-Dade County Public Schools.

She was crowned at a pageant in Plantation, on April 10 that featured contestants of various ethnicities, ages and backgrounds competing in three categories: Teen (13-17), Ms. (18 and up) and Mrs.

Contestants, all from the tri-county area, were judged on criteria that included a panel interview, swim wear and evening wear.

During her reign, she plans to continue her community service activities and promote her platform on teen resistance to peer pressure and bullying.  She developed the idea for that platform after seeing that many of her peers were making poor and potentially dangerous decisions in order to “fit in.”

Her goal, she says, is to convince her peers that there are many "cool" kids who are above the influence of others and still have fun, not willing to risk ruining their future by being reckless.

Her favorite scripture is: "To whom much is given, much is required."

When Alana is not wearing her heels, sash and tiara, she spends her free time writing short stories and novels.  She is currently working on her third book and hopes to be published one day. She also enjoys playing soccer, hanging out with friends and traveling.

Alana is also an actress/model and loves producing, editing and directing short films. After high school, her plans are to attend college and become a television news anchor/reporter and an author.

As the winner of the Miss Florida Teen Essence Pageant, Alana’s prizes included an all-expenses-paid trip to Kansas City, Missouri, where she will represent Florida in the national Essence pageant on June 23-25, competing with more than 50 contestants who won their state competitions.

Contestants are encouraged to seek business advertisements for the program book and sponsorship to offset entry fees and expenses. Prizes for the national winner will include scholarships, cash and jewelry.