Maddison Lange, who was crowned National American Miss Iowa in April, is looking forward to the national competition this November in California.
The event, which lasts a week, includes trips to Disneyland and Hollywood as well as a Thanksgiving dinner for contestants and their families.
Lange said this pageant appealed to her and her family because of the focus on character development rather than looks. For instance, this pageant does not have a swimsuit competition.
“The Miss USA and the Miss America pageants have the swimsuits, and this one is more like building confidence for girls and their skills, not showing off their looks,” Lange said. “That is a plus, because there is no way I would get up there in a swimsuit.”
Lange competed in the same pageant last year and placed in the top 10. The pageant, in Waterloo, consisted of an interview, formal wear and a personal introduction. The talent portion was optional but was tied to scholarship money. Lange did tap dance, something she has been learning since she was little.
She said the most difficult thing was getting up in front of so many people.
“There were about 81 contestants and five judges, so that is a little nerve-wracking because they are all staring at you,” she said. “But meeting all the girls was really fun.”
Her mother, Dr. Kathleen Lange, said she felt “total shock” when her daughter’s name was called.
“I think you never really think your kid is going to win, and it was pretty cool,” she said.
Lange said she has friended many of the girls from the competition on Facebook, relationships she otherwise would not have made. She has already friended many of the other states’ winners on Facebook to get to know them before the November competition.
Lange, who is going into her senior year at Centerville High School, said she has gained a lot from the pageant process.