Cady Tatem, 7, who goes to school at Meherrin Elementary, stands on Main Street in Boykins. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS
Cady Tatem, 7, who goes to school at Meherrin Elementary, stands on Main Street in Boykins. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Cady Tatem is International Junior Miss Princess for Virginia

Published 10:18am Friday, March 28, 2014

BOYKINS—One day last year, Cady Tatem was wearing a crown into Franklin town. When her grandmother, Sylvia Plumley, being in the mood, took her through a drive-thru to get some food. There, the worker asked, noticing the sparkling headgear, “Are you princess for a day?”

Holly Tatem, Cady’s mom, helps her put on her shoes. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS
Holly Tatem, Cady’s mom, helps her put on her shoes. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

“No, I’m a princess every day,” said the little girl with a big smile, rather than a sneer.

Moving forward a year, that’s now an official title.

The 7-year-old recently participated in the International Junior Miss Virginia pageant in Crystal City. There, she competed with girls from Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. At the end of the day, she took home the crown and sash of IJM Virginia Princess, one of six categories.

Cady puts on her tiara.
Cady puts on her tiara.

“I was so surprised,” said Cady. “It was my first time, and I won.”

It was not her first time because of a lack of effort, she had simply not yet been able to convince her mother, Holly Tatem, to allow her to compete in pageants.

“I kept bugging her,” she said with a laugh. “I wanted to do a real pageant.”

Tatem poses at the town park. Cady is International Junior Miss Princess for Virginia. She will compete for the international princess crown in Virginia Beach in early July.
Tatem poses at the town park. Cady is International Junior Miss Princess for Virginia. She will compete for the international princess crown in Virginia Beach in early July.

Holly looked into this one, and found that she liked that it had an academic and scholarship angle, a volunteer aspect and it was also a natural contest — so her daughter would not have to be caked with pounds of makeup and hair weaves to have a hope to win.

It also promoted another important aspect that would help Cady, win or lose, said Holly.

“I think one of the big things was them learning to carry themselves,” she said. “They had to get up on the big stage and have confidence in themselves. And the interview process, that skill gives you a lot of good things for the future, just being able to talk to people and to tell them about yourself.”

Cady does remember being a little afraid to step on the stage, but she had some help.

“It’s a little bit scary,” she said. “I was scared the first day, but someone helped me out. She was International Miss.”

She also had some tricks to keep smiling.

“My trick is to just think about funny stuff in my head,” Cady said.

Armed with her trick, and a confidence booster from an older fellow contestant, she was ready when she did make a mistake, on her talent.

“It was a song by Mandisa, and it was ‘Good Morning,’” she said. “I kind of forgot it a little bit.”

Knowing she had to keep smiling and go on if she messed up, she turned it into a little jazz dance, which the judges liked. Cady liked it too.

“My favorite part was talent,” she said.

Outside of that, she was also judged by her fun wear, her evening gown and the interview.

“I was so excited that I won for the first time,” she said. “And I got to meet two new best friends.”

Now that she has the title, there comes the volunteer aspect. She’s got to make appearances at least once a month to help people. Her first was laundry of love, which she did in Franklin earlier in March.

“We were there to help people with their laundry and give them some quarters,” she said. “We helped them, and all the kids got to have face painting.”

Cady said that they also had crafts and temporary tattoos.

“It kind of felt great,” she said about helping. “I got to meet other people a little bit, and I got to help people out.”

Besides volunteering, she’s also got to get ready for the International Pageant in July, which will be for a $5,000 scholarship. She’ll be representing Virginia and competing with more than 50 other princesses for International Princess.

“I’ve got to work on my walk,” she said. “I don’t walk too good in high heels. And my talent. I’m going to do a ballet dance.”

When not wearing a crown, Cady is a girl who likes school, arts and to spend time with her friends and family.

“I like to do cheerleading, gymnastics, and I kind of love to play with my puppies,” she said, adding “And dance,” after a pause.

Cady goes to school at Meherrin Elementary, and she made all As and was proud of being on the principal’s list. “I was on it two times this year,” she said.

She’s also active in church, the Emmanuel Christian Worship Center in Boykins, and Pastor Sarah Russell is one of her role models.

In church, the children, including Caty, recently helped with sustainability, buying animals for people overseas.

“They made enough money to actually make a difference,” said Sylvia Plumley, adding that they purchased more than 10 animals. “The kids really got into the competition of fun of that. They were collecting coins.”

When she grows up, her first goal is to become Miss America, but she’s also aiming toward the fashion industry. A lot of her play-time revolves around that.

“I like to color sometimes and draw little clothes,” Cady said, adding that she also makes and designs clothes for her dolls.

“Cady has a style all her own,” Holly said.

Her reply, “Say it to the crown.”

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