As our magazine comes to an end, Kasie Smith, president and publisher, and Jennifer Reeves, sales director, want to take a look back at all of the wonderful memories the Miss America Organization, the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Organization, and all of our readers have given them through the nine years of publication.
fourpoints sat down with Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan to talk about giving up the title and what the future holds for her.
Have a lot of the contestants asked you for advice during pageant week?
The contestants have asked me advice, yes, and a lot of them have been asking me for advice since they were crowned. I always tell them that it is important to prepare before the pageant and have a good mindset during pageant week. But I also stress the importance of imagining what happens after the crowning moment. Your life doesn't end then—it actually begins.
What are you doing with your $50,000 Amway scholarship?
In total, I have earned $62,000 in scholarships from competing in the Miss America system. I have received a full tuition scholarship for my first four years of college, so I will be deferring my Miss America scholarships to pay for 3 years of law school. I knew at the age of 13 that I would have to get scholarships in order to pay for college, so the Miss America system has drastically changed my life in that way.
How do you stay humble when you hold a title like Miss America?
My family does a good job of keeping me humble! I am the middle of 7 children, so a week after I began my year as Miss America, my little sister had moved into my bedroom. When I visit home (not that I get to very often) I sleep on a matress, and I make my own bed.
Have you done anything special for the 2012 Miss America contestants?
I actually took 53 stones ouf of my crown and had them made into necklaces for the contestants. I want them to know that even though only one of them can take the crown on Saturday night, that each of them deserve it. This way, they will always have a piece of the crown. They are incredible women, and they deserve it.
My inspiration this week is Miss South Carolina Bree Boyce. I know you have all heard of her, and I am far from the first person in the pageant world (or the world at large) to point out what an incredible story she has. Bree managed to lose over 100 pounds and went on, obviously, to win the Miss South Carolina crown. She has been featured on many television programs and has done dozens of speaking engagements about her story.
Bree is inspiring to me not only because of her weight loss—that is an incredible feat that I can't totally wrap my head around— but because she is the embodiment of one of my favorite things about the Miss America Organization. I once said that I believed any young woman could become MIss America, and I was challenged on that point. Doesn't it take years of training, thousands of dollars, coaches, dresses, etc.? No, it doesn't. I firmly believe that anyone can be Miss America, and Bree is proof of that. Well, proof that you can live your dream (of being Miss South Carolina, of losing 100 pounds) if you put your mind to it. Bree didn't get an expensive weight loss surgery or have a fancy trainer come to her house every day, nor did she have a 24 hour pageant coach or a $10,000 gown. She was just determined. And that is pretty darn inspiring!