Here she is…Miss Campus Celebrity! The Miss America Organization has been a staple in American society since 1921. It has been a platform for young women to express their talents and acts of community service in order to win academic scholarships for higher education. The organization also promotes their national platform, Children’s Miracle Network, and has raised over $8 million in funds for children’s hospitals throughout the United States. Many people think of it as just a beauty pageant, but it is so much more–beauty comes in the form of poise, confidence, and compassion for community. Tara Pizer is a nursing student pursuing her dream of becoming the next Miss America. Watch her as she journeys to Miss Wisconsin and (cross your fingers!) Miss America.
What title do you currently hold and what are the titles you have previously held?
I am currently Miss Southern Lakes for the Miss America Organization. In 2010 held the title of Miss Wisconsin International and was Miss Coulee Region’s Outstanding Teen in 2009.
Tell us more about the Miss America Organization and your platform.
The Miss America Organization is the leading scholarship program for young women; each year they give away millions of dollars in scholarships. The organization bases itself off of four points to which they want their representatives to uphold; style, service, success, and scholarship. The competition also has five phases consisting of interview, on-stage question, swimsuit, talent, and evening gown. However, each contestant has their own personal platform that they work on. My platform is Giving a Meaning to Every Tomorrow – Cystic Fibrosis Awareness.
Cystic Fibrosis is the number one genetic killer disease. There are 30,000 people who suffer from CF in the nation and 70,000 worldwide. My mother was born with this disease, which is a reason why I am so passionate about this issue. She was diagnosed when she was two years old and wasn’t expected to live past the age of five. As my mother survived past that age, they gave a life expectancy of nine years old, then a teenager. Now the predicted age for a person with CF is 37 years old, my mom is now 54. She has surpassed all the odds. The mindset Cystic Fibrosis patients have is something we all can benefit and learn from. These patients fight for their lives every day and truly give a meaning to every tomorrow. By sharing my mother’s story I want to inspire people with all types of challenges to fight and believe in themselves and in their dreams.
What do you do to prepare for a pageant?
Insanity!!! It makes me feel like I am going to die, but so worth it! I highly recommend trying it! I am also prepping by staying updated on my current events; so if anyone has difficult questions concerning what is going on in the world, throw them my way!
Many people have a negative connotation of pageants. What do you have to say for this misconception?
It’s not what you think! Shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” are entertaining, but are completely inaccurate to what pageants are actually like. These programs allow young women to be exposed to experiences they would never get anywhere else. It gives us an opportunity to reach a bigger audience to be an advocate for our platforms and to serve our communities. And to end the questions about “mean pageant girls”… SUCH A MYTH! I have met some of most tremendous and successful women, and I am fortunate to be able to call them friends.
Within the judged categories, which one do you find the most difficult?
Swimsuit! That is always the most difficult phase. If anyone thinks differently, they are nuts! The combination of heels and bikinis is intimidating. Despite that fact, the purpose is to see if the girl is confident in the way she looks and lives a healthy lifestyle.
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done while on stage?
Oh my… I am the queen of embarrassing moments. My most current moment was actually at the pageant I won, I was walking up for introductions and my arm hit the microphone stand and I knocked it over. I don’t think anyone is going to let that go for a while.
Give us an example of a particularly difficult question a judge has asked you during the interview or on-stage question, and what was your response?
Interviews are full of difficult questions. I am often asked what can the government do to fix the economy. My response to is we need to get our political parties to compromise on a budget! Nothing is going to be accomplished if a happy medium cannot be obtained. After this gets accomplished we need to focus our attention on creating jobs in our own country instead of shipping them overseas. I know it isn’t that easy, but we need to move in that direction.
How have pageants affected your life?
Pageants have had a huge impact on the person I am today. Through these organizations I have developed public speaking skills and self-confidence. Not only that, but it has taught me how to present myself in a professional manner and has given me many scholarship and volunteer opportunities that have been exceedingly rewarding.
Would you encourage other young women to try being in a pageant? What are some tips you could give them?
Without a question! It is difficult for me to even describe how rewarding being involved in pageants has been. I describe it similar to a sport; no matter if you win or lose, the experiences, friendships, and hard work make you a stronger person. My advice is to be you, be different and define yourself as your own individual. Don’t change yourself depending on what others/judges want to see. By being confident in your own person, you stand out above the rest.