RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --Dozens of women across the state are nervously awaiting pageant season, but one young lady from Raleigh has an NFL player helping her prepare.
Dakita McCullers, 18, is competing in North Carolina's 2017 Miss Teen pageant this weekend. She has spent hours practicing her walk for Sunday's big moment on stage.
"This is my first pageant. I'm kind of nervous," Dakita said with a chuckle.
Her older sister, Deonica Saunders, is her coach. Her brother, Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Daniel McCullers, will be cheering from the sidelines.
"Just be yourself, and you know, if you go out there and have fun everything will work itself out," Daniel said. "I love y'all a lot," he said to his sisters over FaceTime.
Although hours of wearing tall shoes can be painful, Dakita says she hopes the contest will bring her some positive attention as she applies to colleges. Her dream is to take her walk off the pageant stage and onto the runway.
She said she will use the experience to inspire other girls like her.
"Like, just empower other black girls and let other people see what I'm doing and maybe it will rub off on other girls and encourage them to do the best they can do," Dakita said.
"I want all girls, no matter who you are, what age, or what race, go out and do and become the best woman that you can be," said Dakita's sister, Deonica.
Deonica hopes the opportunity will help her younger sister walk into womanhood with grace.
"Not only respect yourself, but to respect others, so I'm hoping that with this pageant she learns," Deonica said.
Win or lose, her older sister is hoping the lessons Dakita is learning along the way will be something she'll carry on with her beyond the pageant stage this weekend.
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