Local Title to Compete at Miss Idaho: Miss Twin Falls (now Miss Magic Valley)
Talent: Vocal: How Could I Ever Know from The Secret Garden
Platform: Prevention of Disease Through Nutrition
Favorite memory from competing at Miss Idaho: Building relationships with other contestants – most of whom are still part of my life today….
Favorite portion of the competition: Interview and Swimsuit
Favorite memory from competing at Miss America: Loved performing on that famous Miss America stage and brings tears to my eyes thinking about walking the runway in Atlantic City. Also, the visitations were SO much fun – all of my Idaho peeps were always at my table cheering really loud and welcoming me in each night just boosting my confidence and making my experience memorable. My TC (traveling companion) was awesome and so supportive.
I remember getting ready to perform my talent on preliminary night and here comes Miss Kentucky from her performance crying and upset. I tried to comfort her and she mentioned that her performance wasn’t what she expected and she could tell her state peeps were upset. I grinned and said that I thought she did an amazing job (she really did!) and thought to myself that my state is SO supportive and would probably love me if I accidently walked out in swimsuit during talent or something else…..
I wore this huge head piece (definitely show girl material), mostly because I was one of the tallest contestants. We spend two weeks, flying into Philadelphia, being escorted to a variety of events and the security was overwhelming (even for the early 90s). Idaho’s media was very supportive and wanted to interview me most everyday and even other states (mostly radio DJs) wanted to know who Miss Idaho was… I was willing to talk to anyone. I was even awarded the best swimsuit award on MTV’s Pauly Shore show (too bad he wasn't one of my judges… LOL).
Favorite memory from being at Miss America: Board walk parade… loved showing my potato shoes and announcing to the world the nutrition information of an Idaho potato. This was a perfect fit because I just became a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (from U of Idaho) and nutrition was my platform
Also, being from a conservative state, my state director(s) weren’t happy with my boyfriend (now husband) hanging out. We couldn’t really hug (kissing, no way!) or show affection for each other. One of the pictures we took together is of us not really touching each other (just to be silly…)
Did you win any prelims at Miss America? Which ones? No, darn. But I thought I was in Top Ten because the producers always called me out and asked me to lead all the contestants in all the patterns and dance routines.
Did you meet any great friends at Miss America? Yes… From where? Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin. Miss Washington and I were best buds and we ran into Miss Oregon at Starbucks (imagine that) in Kansas City. I can’t wait for my 20 - year reunion at Miss America this year. It will be SO much fun to see each other again and catch up.
How has being Miss Idaho influenced your life now? Currently, I am the Director of the Miss Magic Valley Scholarship Program. Having the experience at both Miss Idaho and Miss America provides credibility to not only this organization in my belief to promote and encourage women to further their education and serve others, but aids in helping or offering advice to these wonderful young, articulate women that compete for a title.
The platform concept was pretty new when I was competing, but I honestly just implemented my passion, which was nutrition. As Miss Idaho, I was able to travel across the state, visit over 100 schools to discuss the important role that nutrition plays as part of a healthful lifestyle. I learned SO much over my year and am honored to have been given the opportunity to take the crown into every one of Idaho’s communities. Every once in a while, someone will say to me – You came to my school, I really appreciated your message of good nutrition and taking care of yourself.
In fact, nutrition is and continues to be my life’s work. As many of you know, I received my BS in Nutrition from University of Idaho (scholarships from Miss Twin Falls/Magic Valley and Miss Idaho) and my MPH from the University of Minnesota (scholarships from Miss America). I also received my doctorate from the University of Connecticut in Nutritional Sciences (of which during my interview my main advisor wanted to know more about my experience at Miss America). Anyway, as President of the Idaho Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics this past year, I was invited to speak at a committee meeting of Idaho State Legislature (both House and Senate) – guess what my topic was:….. Prevention of disease through nutrition (yup, my platform), specifically relating to the state health insurance exchange. My husband even mentioned to me after my presentation(s) this past January, how something I worked on 20 years ago, was still part of my life and I had the opportunity to share my passion and life’s work with Idaho State Legislators (albeit, 20 years later, but hey, better late than never…..).
What lessons did you learn from competing? You are only competing against yourself and it is important not to get caught up in who looks good in what or the latest fashion or gossip. Really rings true in my life today (both personal and professionally). Just be the best mom, professor, director, friend that you can be and don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Also, how to be confident and articulate in all aspects of my life.
What part of Miss America do you look forward to today? I am thrilled beyond belief that Miss America is heading back to Atlantic City. Oh, the board walk parade, seeing all the stores (merchants) and people excited to welcome the contestants back to the boardwalk. Miss America originated in 1921 on the boardwalk (beach) in Atlantic City as a way to celebrate summer and has evolved and changed over the years to provide over $45 Million in scholarships to young women. This competition is a life changer, especially for one lucky girl who will become Miss America.
What was it like being Miss Idaho? A lot of work. Seriously, performing my talent, speaking and articulating my message to various groups and a variety of ages. I look back on my year knowing that 365 days were spent representing our state to the best of my abilities and hopefully making a difference in the lives of others.
What is one story that you love to tell people about your year as Miss Idaho? A lot of people are confused about the difference between Miss America and Miss USA. When someone asks me about being a beauty queen, I graciously remind them that I wasn’t involved in a beauty pageant, but a scholarship program. I love to tell them about all the doors that opened during my year and how I am still articulating my platform across this great state. Most people know or have seen Miss America program and the notoriety that comes with the title. As I’ve lived in 5 different states over the past 20 years, everyone I encountered that hears I am a former Miss Idaho always asks me something along the lines of… Did I have a good experience or a good year as Miss Idaho (sometimes with a coy little smile wanting to hear the gossip)? I always tell them that I would do it again in a heart beat (minus a few pounds and wrinkles) because I had an amazing year and learned SO much being Miss Idaho 19 ninety (cough, cough)…… No, just teasing, 1993. I am truly humbled and honored to have held this title for a year and am thankful for the opportunity to serve others and hopefully make a difference.