Q&A With Miss Capital City And Fellow Buckeye Mara Mason

Mara Mason is both a Buckeye and Miss America title winner. Balancing the life of a third-year journalism student and Miss Capital City is no easy feat, which is why Her Campus OSU sat down with the soon-to-be Miss Ohio contestant. We wanted to know her road to the stage, what it takes to be on it and what it truly means to wear the crown. 

But, we’ll let her tell you herself...

(This interview has been edited for length)

Q: What first drew you to compete in a pageant competition? 

Mara: “When I was in high school I did a festival pageant. It was the Tipp City Mum Festival Queens pageant — what a throw back — but, it was really fun and it was something I’d never done before. I kind of did it on a whim, honestly. I just went out on the limb, and was like ‘I’m going to try this. This sounds fun I like dresses. I like singing. I like tough questions.’ So, I did it and I enjoyed it, but with that pageant there was something lacking for me” 

“Later on that year, I watched the Miss America Pageant and that was when Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart was performing at Miss America. She went to Ohio State. That was 2014. But, I watched it on T.V. and I was like ‘Wow. That’s really cool.’ She’s the most recent Miss Ohio to make top 10. So she performed on finals night, at Miss America and I thought: it doesn’t matter what state I’m from, I can go and do that.”


Q: How do you balance work, being a student and being a title holder?

“So, I use Google Calendar because if I don’t write everything down I’ll forget everything. I schedule out what time I’m in class, I’m at work or doing homework or at the gym. If I schedule out that time, that’s what I’m doing. I need to keep my mind focused on that, because if not I’ll easily get distracted and go into pageant world.” 

Photo and Thumbnail Credit: Roberta Camp Albert


Q: Your platform is One in Five: Empowering Women, Ending Sexual Violence. Can you talk about your decision to use your voice for this issue?

“It was around August, last year, when I was choosing my platform issue. So to find inspiration I went on the Miss America page to look at the state contestants and I was expecting to see women’s empowerment or issues that have to do with diversity and there were a few of those. But, I wasn’t seeing a lot about sexual violence and violence toward women in general. That actually took me by surprise because this is such a massive issue in our country now. So I thought, how could I be a representative for that issue? How could I use my voice for that issue?”


Q: If crowned Miss Ohio, how would you use that platform? 

“Immediately after being crowned Miss Ohio I want to reach out to organizations here in Ohio that are centered around sexual violence … and I want to see if I can get in contact with a panel or a group of survivors of sexual violence because I want to hear what they have to say. I know that have so much more that I personally can’t understand because I’ve never been through it. I want to listen and hear what they want to have changed and what processes they wish were different after the fact.” 


Q: What has being involved with pageants and the Miss America Organization taught you about yourself? 

“It’s crazy since I started doing this, I’ve learned so much about myself and it’s hard to put my finger on one thing. It’s taught me a lot professionally as well. One, I’m a much better speaker than I would have been six or seven months ago. I would never have felt comfortable doing an interview like this. I don’t think I trusted myself to speak intelligently and to speak from my heart and my mind and just run with it. It’s taught me a lot to be confident in my intellect.”


Q: What’s something you wish more people understood about pageantry? 

“The one thing I want people know, especially about the Miss America Organization, is that isn’t not just a beauty competition. It’s really not and sometimes I struggle with that too. I’ll watch Miss America on T.V. and think ‘Wow these people are beautiful. I could never look like that.” But it’s honestly about the package and that’s what people miss sometimes because they don’t get to see our off-stage interviews.” 

“The judges ultimately want to put someone in the position that is going to be a good representation. They are looking for someone who is warm and intelligent and has a sense of humor and is generous and humble because it’s easy to put on the crown and feel like ‘Oh I’m a Queen.’ Sometimes it’s not always easy. But, I didn’t get here because of what my face looks like and none of the other title holders did either."


Q: Career goals?


Q: Favorite hobbies outside of school, work and pageantry?

Singing, reading, writing and blogging. 

Q: Favorite food? 

Spinach artichoke dip. 

Q: Favorite song to sing on stage? 

"Who Are You Now" from musical Funny Girl.  

Mara Mason will be competing for Miss Ohio on June 16 as Miss Capital City. 

Follow her journey on her blog and Instagram @misscapitalcity18.


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