Teen helps nonprofits after earning notoriety from pageant title

Sitting on her living room couch in a blue flannel and jeans, southwest resident Holly Hoffbauer’s chatty, well-spoken personality complements her relaxed appearance.

Her warm smile softens her perfect posture. And despite winning a beauty pageant, not an ounce of makeup covers her face.

The 13-year-old was crowned Miss Junior Teen Las Vegas in March and is set to compete for Miss Junior Teen USA next year in Florida.

“It was a great experience,” Hoffbauer said. “All the girls were really nice and complimented each other a lot. It was really fun.”

The threefold pageant contained a five-minute interview with the judges and casual and formal wear competitions.

Hoffbauer competed with about 35 other 13- to 15-year-olds for the title. Although other girls wore makeup and jewelry, Hoffbauer refused to do either.

“I think makeup can enhance your features to make you look more beautiful,” Hoffbauer said, “but sometimes I think your natural beauty can shine brighter when you don’t wear it at all.”

Hoffbauer said she was nervous when she made the top 10 and had to answer an impromptu question.

“My question was, ‘If you could go to the past or future, which would you choose and why?’,” she said. “I guess I was nervous, and I said a weird answer. It made sense to me at the time, but after I was off stage, I was just hoping it came out right.

“When they called my name later (for the crown), I was really surprised.”

Hoffbrauer and her mother, Heidi, began preparing a few weeks before the pageant by watching pageant interviews and walking techniques.

“My mom started asking me a lot of questions, and we watched a lot of videos on YouTube,” Hoffbauer said. “I was in like two pageants before, but I don’t remember them because I was little.”

Although her new title does not require charity work, Hoffbauer has expanded her community service since being crowned. She helped with St. Baldrick’s Foundation events and plans to help raise money for Cherubs, a nonprofit that supports congenital diaphragmatic hernia research, at the Las Vegas 51s game April 26.

“I really want to get out more in the community,” Hoffbauer said. “We think this title will give me more of a voice, so I want to start helping more charities.”

The seventh-grader is a student at Nevada Connections Academy, a virtual public school for kindergarten through 12th grade. She said the flexibility of her school schedule allows more time for her extracurricular activities, such as acting and gymnastics.

“Because she’s an actress, we’re back and forth between here and Los Angeles,” her mother said. “It just seems like the best plan is to be with an online school.”

Born in Hong Kong, Hoffbauer moved to Las Vegas with her parents when she was 4. Since she was about 5, Hoffbauer has acted in short films at UNLV, a movie called “Pop Star Puppy” and TV commercials for Mountain’s Edge and Winder Farms.

The teen said volunteering has helped her with her acting career and inspired her to compete in the pageant.

“With this title, I just really want to get more involved in the community and help out,” Hoffbauer said. “Hopefully I can inspire others to get involved, too.”

Contact Southwest View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at cbelcher@viewnews.com or 702-383-0403.