‘You can make it happen’: Miss Arizona USA contestant hopes to inspire girls
By Jan-Mikael Patterson
Special to the Times
Miss Northern Arizona USA April Tucker, 26, is looking to inspire young Navajo girls and show them that with passion, hard work and determination anything is possible.
“I want the little girls out there to see that it is possible to do,” she said. “It is important for me and the Navajo Nation to step into that place of power.”
Tucker is looking to make a change to where Indigenous peoples and communities are recognized; increase awareness of missing and murdered Indigenous women; and address domestic violence by promoting positive healthy relationships.
Those form her platform as she competes for the Miss Arizona USA crown July 9 to 11 at the Higley Center for the Performing Arts in Gilbert, Arizona.
“Part of my platform is addressing the under-representation of Indigenous people and communities, especially with the pageant systems,” she said. “I hardly see indigenous women on that stage. It makes me a little sad in way.
“We are all placed on this earth and there is a lot of things Navajos and indigenous communities went through,” she said. “There is a lot of reservations and indigenous communities trying to strive through.
“The under-representation … it does upset me,” she said. “There are so many beautiful things happening. Our communities are striving. They are rising up.”
Tucker is originally from Sanders, Arizona. She will compete with other crownholders like Miss Lake Havasu USA, Miss Tucson USA, Miss Ahwatukee USA, and Miss Chandler USA, to name a few. Casting Crown Productions has held annual competitions since 1952 for Miss Arizona USA and Miss Arizona Teen USA.
This is Tucker’s first attempt competing in a pageant when she submitted her application for the Miss Northern Arizona USA pageant, during the pandemic. She was officially crowned Miss Northern Arizona USA in November.
“The pandemic was a very difficult time,” she said. “It really took a toll on me. I actually lost my chei during that year. My chei meant a lot to me.”
Being isolated during the shutdown and with restrictions on travel made it hard to cope with the loss of her family. Her grandfather passed early in the pandemic so she was able to attend the funeral.
Her chei’s words of encouragement still resound to Tucker during the competition for the Miss Northern USA because this meant she had to step outside of her comfort zone.
“Stepping out of my comfort zone motivated me to do my best,” she said. “My chei’s words helped motivate me. It still hurt losing him. I’ve always had been with my chei. I was always by his side.”
Tucker noted the experience of the pageant has helped with her personal growth and helped her gain confidence.
“Doing so I’ve noticed that a lot of opportunities were coming and doors were opening up,” she said. “I want to be that role model that I wished I had when I was a little girl. I wanted to do this from my heart. I didn’t know what to expect. I learned more about (the pageant) as I went on. I prayed about it and stepped into it.
“I want the girls out there to know that any dreams you have you can make it happen,” she said. “If you truly believe in it, it will be there.”
One of the highlights Tucker shared was when she reached out to a young lady in Dilkon, Arizona, who was looking for support and participants for a community cleanup. The cleanup was a positive experience for her and she noted that was a result of someone putting forth a plan and staying dedicated.
“It was truly awesome to see them all come together,” she said.
There are many who compete in pageants on the reservation but not many in state, regional or national levels.
Tucker is Naakai Dine’e, born for Ma’ii Deesghiizhnii. Her maternal grandfather is Kiyaa’aani/Chiracahua/Cheyenne and her paternal grandfather is Kiyaa’aanii. She studying business marketing at Mesa Community College.
Her parents are Corrine and Norman Tucker. Her maternal grandparents are the late Leroy and Lutie Begay from Black Mesa, Arizona. Her paternal grandparents are John and Lula Tucker from Cedar Ridge, Arizona.
Tucker is an entrepreneur as she operates her own business as a traveling photographer. Her company, Lutie Rose Photography, is named after her grandmother Lutie.
Information: Instagram – @missnorthernazusa, @lutierosephotography; Facebook – April Rose Tucker, @lutierosephotography; E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org