Meet Miss Wyoming USA, Callie Bishop

Photo courtesy Future Productions


Coal Creek was bustling with busy people as I waited for Callie Bishop, Miss Wyoming USA, to arrive for our interview. She arrived with a certain aura about herself, she was confident and always smiling. Making her way over to me, she stopped to talk to a few regulars in the store that she knew from working on the Tap side and accepted their congratulations for her achievement of being crowned Miss Wyoming USA. Once coffees were ordered, we got right into the interview.


Her Campus: Where are you from originally?

Callie Bishop: I’m from Casper, Wyoming originally. Born and raised and I came to Laramie for my degree in dance, about ten years ago. So, I graduated from high school in 2008 and I graduated from college in 2013, but I claim Wyoming as my home, being from Casper.


HC: How did you get into pageants?

CB: I saw my friend Molly Smith compete and she won Miss Wyoming Teen USA and to be honest, I was a little jealous of her year. She got academic scholarships, she got to travel all around the United States, she got to talk about things she was passionate about and was living the life. So, I was no stranger to the stage as a dancer and I did debate and I was really just entranced by the lifestyle she had and what she was able to do in that year, it was an active year, and to be an ambassador, a state ambassador also enticed me. So I thought I would give it a try and I was really lucky. I ended up being Miss Wyoming Teen USA, and that was in 2008, and then I took a year off to do the whole college thing and then I thought, “I should do Miss Wyoming USA,” because ultimately, when I was a little girl, that was the end goal for the pageantry. Little did I know that it was actually going to be a reality. So I got first runner up the first year that I competed for Miss Wyoming USA and then a couple other times I competed I didn’t place in the top five, so I kept trying. But then I aged out because the age limit, I don’t know if it was 25 or 26, but I aged out. But then they got bought out by a different company and so it was like a dream came back to life, and I remember getting the call from my manager saying, “you should try this, you have two more years to compete.” And at the time, I was teaching yoga and I felt like I was really grounded in my lifestyle and my life work, and I was like, “why would I throw this?” and I didn’t think it was a part of me any longer, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I would regret this if I woke up 30 years from now thinking “what if?” So, I tried it again and got first runner up again and thought, “you know what? I didn’t put a lot of training into this. I wonder what would happen if I invested.” So I reached out to my community, got sponsorships, was able to travel all around the United States and do workshops with the best in the industry and then was fortunate enough to be crowned Miss Wyoming USA in my last chance.


HC: Can you recall the first time you competed? What that was like for you, what you felt.

CB: I remember loving it. I always loved being on stage and had been a performer for a very long time, so I’m very comfortable in the light. I also loved the glamour part of it. I went like a decade without makeup, I was more of a tomboy growing up than anything, so it was fun to discover this new layer or this girly side of myself. So I really enjoyed having my hair and makeup done, even though I do not know how to do it myself at the time and to be honest I was really shocked when I won when I was younger because it wasn’t something that I had been doing my whole life, but I remember being in shock and being very humbled because it’s a huge honor and so many privileges come out of it. It was a long time ago to be honest, all I remember is my big, blue, puffy Cinderella dress and one of my best friends getting to crown me, that was a really special moment.


HC: What all goes into preparation for a pageant? How far out do you start preparing?

CB: I was actually just watching a YouTube video about pageant prep and when you should start and ultimately the day you decide that you want to enter is the day that you start training. There is no off season, it’s something where you’re constantly improving yourself and there are three areas in a competition: interview, swimsuit and evening gown. And interview is keeping up to date on the news, so I read theSkimm Daily and listen to the daily podcast and then on top of that, if I have extra time, I’ll look at other news sources. So, I’ve been training since the day that I got crowned Miss Wyoming USA for the Miss USA. I definitely gave myself a break in terms of food because that’s a part of it, living a healthy lifestyle. My managers definitely said, “we’re not going to have you diet, but we want you to be consistent in the way that you take care of yourself.” And that’s the philosophy or lifestyle that I have admired for a long time as a yoga instructor, I have like a daily practice of taking care of yourself. Interview is really about knowing yourself, which sounds weird. You think you would know yourself, but communicating that in an effective way. So it’s a lot of journaling and reflection based exercises, and then going through hot topics or current events and figuring out where you stand because most often the interviews are 2-3 minute interviews, so they’re very quick and you can’t waste a lot of time like, “hmm, that’s an interesting question.” You already have to know your stance on things, so it’s a lot of self-work, figuring out who you are, where you stand on everything that’s going on and keeping up to date on the news because hopefully as Miss USA you’re not, you’re no longer just representing Wyoming, you’re representing the whole United States and then as USA, you go to Miss Universe, so you also have to understand what’s going on globally as well, which I love because I’ve been intimidated by the news or it just gets me down lately, so I removed myself from it, but I’ve noticed that the more involved in it, has just made me more passionate and productive.


HC: How do you balance everything?

CB: To be honest, I always considered myself really great at time management and when I was in college I worked multiple jobs, but this is a whole different level and so for me, it’s making lists and prioritizing things is very important. I think a big component of my success, or the one thing that will allow me to be successful this year, is actually slowing down because I do feel myself speeding up exponentially right now, and so prioritizing things that I preach like just being still and breathing. When you’re in that relaxed state you can get so much more done and you’re so much more efficient.


HC: What was one of the biggest challenges you faced getting ready for this last round of competition?

CB: For me, it was that balancing act. My dad was really sick and that was one reason I really debated doing the pageant because I was driving to Casper constantly, wanting to spend time with him in his chemotherapy appointments and just trying to soak up the last couple months. So, mainly it was balancing the pre-grieving process and also when my father passed away, I was in the middle point of preparation and so it was just reminding myself why I was doing it and going back to that intention of having no regrets and my dad always encouraged me to lean into the things that made me happy and pageantry makes me happy because it’s all about self-improvement and giving back to your community. So, that was honestly the biggest challenge because I like the work, I really enjoy the work. The hardest part was balancing real life and loss.


HC: Fast forward to getting crowned. Can you describe the feeling that you had and what was going through your head at the moment?

CB: I was a little bit, I don’t really know how to explain it. I consider myself somebody that’s constantly in the present moment, but in that moment it was really hard to be grounded. I immediately started thinking about the year ahead and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to be an active title holder. And one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind was, “I’m so grateful because I get to grow so much this year.” I have a team that is going to help me be the best version of myself, and I’ve always been obsessed with self-help and improvement and challenging myself, so that was probably the thing that overwhelmed me in that moment. Also, I had a lot of sadness for the girl who I was holding her hand, because I knew that she has worked just as hard as me for a very long time and she was competing when I was Miss Wyoming Teen USA, and so for ten years she was working toward this title, so my heart went out to all those other girls. So it was a mixed feeling of joy and sadness. I thought about my dad a lot and just how he always wanted that goal for me and it was weird, I’ve never been an overly religious person, but I felt his presence with me the whole weekend.


HC: How has your life changed after winning the title?

CB: I definitely wake up, like I remember I was so exhausted, but the first day that I woke up I had so much enthusiasm and excitement and drive to really get started. It’s like having a really big responsibility, but it’s also a really huge blessing, so I think that I’m really more intentional with how I spend my time and who I spend my time with. I like to think I’m already a great role model and I don’t do anything I wouldn’t want to hear about the next day in the newspaper. One of the first things they said in my debriefing session was, “you are now a celebrity to a certain extent.” But the nice thing is that I’m very blessed and I’m very happy with the woman that I’ve grown into and how I live my life. I feel very fortunate that I don’t have to be someone that I’m not. I guess the change is more internal.


HC: What happens for you now?

CB: The cool thing about this job is that you get to make up the position in a lot of ways, there are requirements -  you have to go to appearances and events and represent Future Productions. I am a brand and I own the title for a year, so I have to fulfill those specific job requirements. But for me, personally, why I did this was for a variety of reasons, but I grew up in a low-income family, and dance is an expensive thing to participate in and so when I graduated from the University of Wyoming, I worked for the Cooper Center for Creative Arts and I ran an after school program for kids with disabilities and I was just thinking about, “man I would have loved to have that when I was a little kid.” Thankfully I was able to have my dance studio or my Nana was able to help us out and I was able to do the things that I loved, so as Miss Wyoming USA I want to provide more opportunities for those specific populations that might not get it, whether it be low-income, or kids with disabilities, or Big Brothers Big Sisters and do that work. And then, I’ve also been in an abusive relationship before and that’s something that I’m very passionate about, is working with women that feel disempowered and helping them gain their confidence back because it took me a good two years after my relationship to even look at myself in the mirror and think that I was worthy or beautiful, and yoga and meditation has helped me build that within myself, so I’d like to be able to share that.


HC: What do you hope to achieve?

CB: Laramie has given me so much, this is where I really grew into myself and this community helped me get to where I am and so I will be there, if you ask me to be there. I just have a big heart for Wyoming, I’m a third generation Wyomingite and I am so lucky that I get to represent Wyoming and so anyway that I can help, I want to.


Callie will begin preparation for Miss USA 2018 now, including a fundraising event at Coal Creek Tap this Thursday.