The fourth time was the charm for both Fort Worth and Brenna Flynn, the 18-year-old daughter of Jan and Michael Flynn, who was named Miss Texas Teen 2018 – the first ever wearing a Fort Worth banner.
“I was humbled and in complete shock as I stood there as one of the final two contestants,” she said in response to questions from the Business Press. She had competed three times before and was nervous awaiting the decision of the judges. She was crowned Nov. 26 in Houston.
“In all honesty, I barely remember my name being called, as I was overwhelmed with all the excitement of the moment,” she said. (The accompanying photo of her at the moment of the announcement captures the feeling well.)
She was named Miss Dallas Teen in 2014 when she was 14 years old and was fourth runner up in the state competition that year. She was in the top 15 in 2015 representing Fort Worth and second runner up in 2016 representing North Texas. In 2017, she represented Fort Worth. She’ll represent Texas at the Miss Teen USA Pageant this summer.
“Jan and I are very proud of all four of our daughters, as they have all worked diligently to achieve their goals and dreams,” said Flynn, president of Southland Property Tax Consultants Inc. of Fort Worth.
“It was a joy to watch Brenna pursue her dream of becoming Miss Texas Teen USA and succeed. Her work ethic, sacrifice and determination never wavered throughout the process, which is a lesson learned that will serve her well throughout her life,” he said.
Brenna Flynn turned 18 Jan. 3. She’s a senior at Trinity Valley School and has had her heart set on attending the University of Texas at Austin since she was a little girl. “I am very interested in the textiles and apparel program,” she said.
But it was lack of apparel that led to what she says was the single more meaningful time of her life. It was about a year ago and she was walking to her car in downtown Fort Worth when she saw a woman who was obviously homeless.
“I have seen many homeless people throughout my life, but this situation felt different to me,” Flynn said. “I sat down and started talking to her, and realized that she had no shoes or teeth, and the only thing she really had was the ripped shirt on her back.”
Flynn asked the woman to wait, went to the nearest store and filled up her backpack with whatever items she could find that she thought were necessities.
“After spending my whole month’s allowance, I realized how expensive basic needs can be. I then brought the backpack to this lady, and she started crying and thanked me. This was the first time that I fully realized the scope of how many people out there are so in need of help and support,” Flynn said.
“From that moment forward, if I didn’t have any food or clothes to give the homeless people I saw, I at least gave them a smile,” she said.
Flynn has three sisters, McKinzie, 23, who graduated from TCU and works for the Dickie’s Arena and will be getting married in April; Kendall, 20, a junior at TCU majoring in education; and Delanie, 14, a freshman at Trinity Valley School, where she is a cheerleader.
You are the first Miss Fort Worth Teen to win the Miss Texas Teen Pageant.
There is not an official Miss Fort Worth Teen pageant currently, but because I won Miss Dallas Teen in 2014, I was allowed under the rules to choose to represent Fort Worth at the state pageant. If there is not a city pageant in your area, you are allowed to represent the city where you live. I was the first girl to win Miss Texas Teen USA while representing Fort Worth, and I am very proud of that distinction. Go Fort Worth!
What are your obligations and duties as Miss Teen Texas USA?
During my reign as Miss Texas Teen USA, I will travel all around Texas making appearances and speaking about my chosen platform. The platform I chose is to assist in bringing awareness and help to teens who suffer from mental illness. I know that mental illness is very common in many high schools, and in many cases, very little is being said or done about it. I speak to teens and middle schoolers about the importance of kindness and understanding, because there are a lot of people who are going through very difficult times. A little kindness and compassion goes a long way.
If we say, “Great beauty can be a responsibility,” how do you react to that?
I agree! Although many people refer to the pageant as a “beauty pageant,” there is a lot more involved in being Miss Texas Teen than one’s physical beauty. I feel a great responsibility to be a role model for other teens and help change the world around me in a positive way as opportunities present themselves. I believe beauty is measured in so many more ways than just physical beauty. To me, true beauty is being kind, compassionate, and accepting of all, no matter who they are or where they come from.
Is there something about you that most people do not know or could not guess?
Since I was little, I have always wanted to do and try anything that came in my path, weather it was gymnastics, cheer, singing or guitar, I wanted to do it all. My sophomore year I was in the middle of my cheer season when some of the girl basketball players challenged me to join the team. Of course, the next day I was at the first round of basketball tryouts. I quickly realized that I was not cut out for a basketball career when I couldn’t get through the first round of “suicides” drills. I sadly resigned my position on the basketball team, claiming that I was just “too good” to be on the team with them, but they knew better.
What would you say to other young women who would like to be you?
I would say that I am human and have many flaws like everyone else in this world. I have learned over time to admit and embrace my flaws in an effort to improve myself. Unfortunately, there are many pressures on young girls to be perfect in our culture. We are all imperfect, but if we embrace our changeable imperfections, we become a better version of ourselves, the version we were intended to be.
I would also encourage them to set goals for themselves, and to dream big! There are so many opportunities in this world, and you can achieve your goals and live your dreams if you are willing to work hard and persevere. Everything that I have achieved came with a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Social media seems to portray so many stories in a glamorous and perfect way, but the reality is that there are a lot of long days and struggles that are behind those moments.
Lastly, I would tell them that no matter who they are, or where they come from, they have unique and special gifts. With the special gifts that they have, they can achieve great things in life, if they set their minds to it.
Do you feel pressured to be a role model to others?
Ever since I was little, I always strived to be a leader. I never felt pressured to be a role model, but I understand that young girls and boys are looking up to me, so it provides an opportunity to help guide them as many of my role models did when I was their age. It is my hope that through Miss Texas Teen, I can inspire people of all ages to achieve their goals and dreams.
Why did you choose your intended field of study in college?
Fashion merchandising and design has always been something I have had a passion for. I hope to expand my knowledge in this area, wherever I attend college. I took a three-week course this past summer at the Texas Fashion Program in Austin. I studied fashion design, merchandising, and product development, and loved it!
Who – other than your parents – is your inspiration in life?
I have always looked up to Olivia Culpo who is a former Miss USA and Miss Universe. She used her title and platform to not only further her career in the fashion industry but to also raise awareness to causes and charities near to her heart. I hope to be half the titleholder and woman that she is in the future.
There is a great amount of preparation and effort around pageants that most people never see. How do you remain calm and focused during that effort?
While I am preparing and working hard, I constantly remind myself of the purpose behind why I am doing what I am doing. I think about the many opportunities that will come from this amazing platform, and all the lives I will have the opportunity to touch during my year as Miss Texas Teen USA. These opportunities have been both motivating and calming to me throughout the process.
How do you see Miss Teen Texas USA fitting into your future?
I view Miss Texas Teen as a valuable stepping-stone to so many opportunities. I have the opportunity to meet and help so many people from all around the world, and create relationships with them. Throughout my four years of competing, I gained many valuable skills that will help me for the rest of my life. The public speaking and interpersonal communication skills I have learned will impact my ability to better communicate my platform while encouraging others to join me, for the betterment of those in need.
How are you preparing for the Miss Teen USA Pageant this summer?
In order to prepare to represent Texas in the Miss Teen USA Pageant, I will work with my many sponsors to coordinate preparation and training for all facets of the pageant. This consists of finding my wardrobe and gown for the week that I will be at Miss Teen USA, physical fitness training, and preparation for the interview session. The Miss Universe Organization has not released the date or place where the Miss Teen USA Pageant will be held. The only information provided to date is that the pageant will be held sometime this summer. I have to be prepared for whenever that will be.