By Chris Diggins
Beautiful? Talented? Looking for some money to pay for school? Young women who have these qualifications and live in the Orem area may be eligible to win scholarship money by competing in this year”s Miss Orem Pageant.
The pageant, scheduled for May 8 at Orem High School, is open to all girls between the ages of 17 and 24 who have lived in the Orem area for at least six months. BYU students who currently live in Orem are encouraged to compete.
“When I first heard of a pageant I thought ”no way”,” said Brittney Wiscomb, a BYU student and the winner of last year”s Miss Orem Pageant. “Stereotypically, you think of a pageant as a bunch of girls who don”t have any opinions, walking around and wearing a crown, when really it”s much more than that.”
The competition encourages young women to develop their talents by having them compete in five areas. The contestants are judged on a talent, two interviews, and the eveningwear and swimsuit competitions.
Contestants are also required to promote a platform of public service throughout the competition. Wiscomb said this platform is one of the most important parts of the pageant.
“It”s a chance for a girl to express her voice on something that”s important to her,” she said.
In addition to giving a voice to important social issues, those who run and organize the pageant said they have seen a positive change in the self-esteem and poise of the contestants.
“It”s amazing the transition that the girls make during just those few months,” said Melissa Dickerson, production director for the Miss Orem Pageant. “It helps them with their self-confidence, their self-esteem. It”s just a wonderful thing.”
Besides the positive personal and social benefits of the pageant, competing for the title of Miss Orem is an opportunity to win money.
Thousands of dollars in scholarship money are donated to the pageant, and the winner receives a $3,000 prize. More than $5,000 in scholarship money will be awarded to other contestants based on their performance.
Wiscomb said she finds this money comes in handy when trying to pay for an education at BYU.
“Thus far, during my whole career at BYU, all of my classes have been paid for with scholarship money from Miss Orem,” she said.
The benefits of competing are great, but the pageant competition is stiff. The Miss Orem Pageant is recognized as one of the top five scholarship pageants in the state. Three previous pageant winners went on to win the title of Miss Utah, and later competed in the Miss America Pageant.
Miss Orem Pageant applications are available at the Orem City Offices at 56 N. State St. in Orem. The deadline for applications is Feb. 20.