Friendswood teen aims for pageant crown once held by Correa’s fiance

November 15, 2017 GMT

A Friendswood High School cheerleader will compete Thanksgiving weekend for a crown and title once held by the future wife of Carlos Correa.

Rachel Epperson found it exciting to see Correa, the Houston Astros shortstop, pop the question to Daniella Rodriguez on live television just moments after his team won the World Series on Nov. 1.

“I grew up watching her pageant years,” said Epperson, a 16-year-old junior at Friendswood High School. She noted that, five years ago, Rodriguez won Miss Texas Teen USA, before winning the title of Miss Texas USA 2016.

Epperson will compete for the Miss Texas Teen USA 2018 crown Nov. 25-26 at Hilton Post Oak in Houston.

Attending the teen pageant is an annual tradition for Epperson and her mother, Friendswood insurance agent Thuy Epperson, and sister, Lauren, 13.

This year, 104 contestants will compete in three categories: personal interview, sportswear and evening wear.

Sportswear replaces the swimsuit category, which was a requirement when Rodriquez competed.

“I like sportswear better,” said Rachel Epperson, “because it fits with my personality more. I’m more athletic. I’m more of a gym person than a beach person.”

She said she hasn’t decided which gown to wear in the evening-wear competition.

“There are a lot of choices out there.”

Epperson had not competed in a pageant until last spring, when she won the title of Miss Teen Lone Star Texas in a pageant system that emphasizes community service.

Last June, advancing to the national contest in San Antonio, Epperson was crowned Miss Teen United America.

“I love being able to promote my platform of encouraging girls to get involved in STEM fields, which include science, technology, engineering and math,” said Epperson, whose ambition is to become a biomedical engineer.

The contestant has logged more than 500 hours as a volunteer in the Society for the Advancement of Volunteer Youth program at Moody Gardens, said her mother, who also felt a personal connection when Correa proposed to Rodriquez.

“That was fabulous,” said Thuy Epperson. “It was wonderful to see Daniella’s dream come true on the national stage. It was so romantic. Chivalry still lives. We are so excited for them.”

Rachel Epperson and fellow Friendswood High cheerleaders babysat for Friendswood ISD employees affected by Hurricane Harvey, and she worked at distribution points for getting supplies to the needy. She is active with a number of community service programs, including Boys & Girls Harbor and The Birthday Joy project at Santa Maria Hostel.

For more on the Miss Texas USA and Miss Teen Texas USA pageants, call 281-493-4100 or visit www.misstexasusa.com.

Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at donmaines@att.net