The USA National Miss Pageant starts next Friday, looking to crown another Miss Ohio. Our very own Miss Youngstown will be competing in the three-month-long process.

Wearing a crown and walking onstage is almost every little girl’s dream. It was for 20-year-old Xhandae Smith, who now holds the title of Miss Youngstown.

“I watched pageants since I was real young with my mom, Miss Universe, and I thought to myself, I was like, ‘I want to do that,'” she said.

But she didn’t always have the money to compete.

“For someone in a low-income family, but I was like, ‘You know what? This is going to work for me.’ And I wanted to do it.”

That opportunity came this year when USA National Miss Pageant came to Ohio for the second time ever. Xhandae jumped at the chance.

“They asked me a few questions about, why should I run for Miss Youngstown and what would it mean to me if you win Miss Ohio,” she said.

She answered those questions with elegance and grace. The next thing she knew…

“I found out I got the title of Miss Youngstown, I was like, ‘Woohoo!'”

Xhandae wants to show her city what having that honor really means.

“Me having this title will not just influence the children and the teens, but influence everybody — adults, too,” she said. “I’m a leader and I can try to get you to be a leader, and try to change how the community is.”

Each contestant for Miss Ohio has a platform they’re raising awareness for. Xhandae’s is obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) because she has it herself.

She’s already a fighter and now she’s humbled to compete for Miss Ohio.

“We’re all thrilled to meet each other next week on Friday,” Xhandae said. “I can’t wait to meet everybody so it’s just going to be a great pleasure.”