Miss Plano Frisco

Shilah Phillips, Miss Texas 2006

Shilah's Winning Walk

Shilah Phillips was a newcomer who won the title of Miss Texas on her first try. Unlike some who are groomed from childhood to compete in pageants, Shilah working three jobs in order to pay for school, was persuaded by a friend to enter as she needed college fund assistance. The cutoff age was looming and as Shilah commented in an interview just after winning the Miss Texas title: This was her one and only chance.

Competing as Miss Frisco, Shilah was not only the 2nd woman in the history of the program to win the title on the first try, but she also became the first African-American woman to represent the Lone Star State in the Miss America pageant.

Her competition at Miss America proved to be highly successful. She was awarded preliminary talent winner and while not capturing the Miss America title she was awarded 1st Runner Up, the first Miss Texas to achieve that level since Phyllis George, Miss Texas 1971, won Miss America . Of course the title of Miss America would have been great for Shilah and the State of Texas, but ultimately her goal of competing for scholarship was handsomely rewarded. She walked away with over $40,000 and would now be able to complete her degree without worrying about money.

Shilah understands first hand the importance of staying in school and the expense that comes with completing a college education. She had a strong grounding in music and upon high school graduation began studying jazz music at the prestigious Howard University in Washington, D.C. While there she received educational honors in addition to the most Outstanding Vocalist Award. Through her vocal studies and connections Shilah seized a recording opportunity in Los Angeles moving there to pursue a career in music. She even made it to Hollywood as a semi-finalist contestant on “American Idol” season three. While all of this was seemingly a fantastic opportunity, Shilah eventually realized the importance of finishing her degree and by returning to school her chances for success would be even greater.

Her value proposition as Miss Texas and still today includes: professional entertainer, honor student, community leader, teacher, volunteer, and accomplished speaker. Shilah embarked upon a 12-month speaking tour in her position of Miss Texas which was titled “Never Give Up”. This inspirational presentation focused on (1) Staying in School; (2) Living a Healthy Lifestyle; and (3) Keeping Dreams Alive. After completing her year of service as Miss Texas, Shilah moved forward in completing her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Jazz Performance, from the nationally renowned and celebrated jazz program at the University of North Texas.

Shilah’s legacy as Miss Texas includes “grace, style and dedication towards children.” She encouraged thousands of youth across the State of Texas to never give up on their dreams and to never give up on their education. No matter a student’s socio economic background “if you can believe it, you can achieve it”. Shilah’s spirit can best be described from the lyrics of a song by Yolanda Adams, “Never Give Up” …“to fulfill divine purpose, you gotta answer when you're called -- so don't be afraid to face the world against all odds”….

In addition to winning the title of Miss Texas 2006, Shilah also won the Cathy Castro Preliminary Talent Award, the Bob Barker/Barker Video Productions Preliminary Swimsuit Award, the LaRona Maxwell Memorial Overall Talent Award, the Robert and Steve Ann Butcher Most Talented Vocalist Award, the Joe Wilmoth Ltd. Alpha Overall Award (for the first year contestant who placed the highest), the Honorary Dr. Terry Durr Alpha Best Interview Award, the Bob Horan Memorial Alpha Talent Award, the Bob Horan Memorial Alpha Most Talented Vocalist Award.

If you are interested in learning more about competing please contact:
Cynthia Fennell, Executive Director
phone: (972) 672.2754

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