Skip to main content

A Local Princess With a Unique Talent

On the outside looking in, Lake Stevens student Haley Downey looks like any regular senior in high school; she is involved in ASB Leadership, and has a spot on the cheer team. What some people may not be aware of is this 18-year-old girl represented our state in 2013 in search of a national title.

As Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen, Haley competed for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen title in Florida along with 52 other contestants. The organization is a sister company to the Miss America pageant and focuses more on academic achievement and talent as opposed to beauty specifically. Haley has received various small scholarships and awards over her eight years competing for her successes.

“My dream school is Auburn [University],” Downey said with excitement. “I visited last month and loved the campus!”

Aside from having held the title, Haley brings a talent that is very unique and almost unheard of nowadays to the stage: she plays the harp. The instrument has been important to her since the day she began to play, when she was only eight years old. She plays songs that vary from My Heart Will Go On to popular Coldplay music. 

"I don't really have a favorite song to play, but I like to play more modern music than anything else," says Downey.

Pageantry is definitely not a common hobby of teenage girls in the area. Haley got involved because her mom thought it would "make her more girly and graceful when playing [the harp.]"

"I ended up really liking them. I never played sports or anything so that was my sport and I thought it was fun." 

Although Downey gave up her Miss Washington's Outstanding Teen title only a couple months ago, Haley plans to keep practicing harp and continue to compete in smaller pageants in Alabama. The pageant business is more common in the south so Haley expects to see some healthy competition and learn more from competing against experienced girls.

“I see myself someday competing in the Miss Washington pageant,” says Haley, “I want to be back on the [Miss America] stage in the future.”