After a long afternoon of competition, Ali Mims waited with great anticipation that she would be chosen. Her goal: to go from being one of the top sixteen contestants in the Miss Alabama’s Teen pageant to being in the top five.  

“If I didn’t win from that point, I would’ve been content,” Mims says. “I was the last person call for the top five. But when they called my name, I was so happy to just finally prove to myself that I could do it.”  

She admits to being a little nervous about the two upcoming questions she’d have to answer to clinch the crown. But she also knew there was a great possibility she could do it. She’d already won two preliminary competitions: evening gown and talent. She’d also won a community service scholarship, too.  

Still, she says, you never what direction the judges might go. And she she truly felt any of her fellow pageant sisters would do a great job as the title holder. 

“Then it was just me and Addison (Shoemaker) holding hands for the winning spot. That moment was so precious. I just looked at Addison and we were both crying and shaking, and I just looked at her and I said, “It’s all in God’s plan.”  

And it was. Mims, who is 16, won the title – the 23rd young woman to receive the crown since the pageant started in 2003. 

“The feeling that I just had in my heart was crazy,” she recalls. “All I knew to say was, ‘Thank you Jesus’. And every video you see, I just looked up at the ceiling and said, ‘Thank you Jesus’, probably a hundred times, because that’s all I knew to say.” 

Becoming Miss Alabama’s Teen was a dream Mims has had since she was two. That’s when her mom, who also competed in the Miss Alabama pageant years before, began taking her and her sister to watch. 

“I absolutely fell in love. I watched the girls on stage compete, and I actually developed my love for performing and for the organization from watching them,” Mims said.  

That love was evident Sunday when she performed “O mio babbino caro,” a soprano aria from the opera, Gianni Schicchi. Ironically, singing was also her mother’s talent when she competed. Mims also got a chance to share with judges her social initiative, the Joyful Noise Foundation, which raises money to provide musical instruments in special needs classes. Ultimately, Mims would like to be a music therapist in children’s hospitals. 

“I love working with anyone with music, but especially children because the innocence and the joy with them is so much fun,” Mims describes energetically. “A lot of people don’t know that 76% of schools in Alabama don’t offer music education to special needs students. So as Miss Alabama’s Teen, my plans will consist of ways to go into schools and travel the state figuring out ways to implement music education so that no special needs child has to sit there and wonder why they won’t have the music education.” 

Mims is from Harpersville and is a junior at Chelsea High School. She’s a varsity cheerleader, a member of Key Club, Future Teachers of America, Youth Leadership Shelby County and a member of the worship team at her church. Although she’s not from Hoover, she says she’s been proud to represent the city. 

“I firmly believe part of the reason that I won is because I had so many incredible and encouraging people behind me that were willing to help me do whatever it was that I needed to win Miss Alabama’s Teen and get that community service scholarship. And so the time that I had as Ms. Hoover’s Teen was nothing short of incredible and I’m definitely not giving that up. I’ll continue to visit Hoover and do all the things that I’m needed there for.”