Being Miss Maumee Valley

Monday, September 11, 2006

Giving Back with Words

I was recently asked to write an endorsement for the Miss America system, for a brand new Miss Ohio local to use in their quest for sponsorship. I wrote the following:

Our lives are shaped by the choices we make; when I chose to enter my first scholarship pageant in the Miss America system six years ago, I had no idea that my decision would afford me so many incredible opportunities and shape my future in such a positive way.

During my years of competing in the Miss America Scholarship program, I won five local titles, meaning I competed to become Miss Ohio five times. In addition to the crowns, I earned nearly thirteen thousand dollars to finance my education. I now hold a Bachelors of Arts in Communications degree, specializing in Theatre from Bowling Green State University. My academic achievements could not have been possible without the financial assistance of pageant scholarships.

There is another commodity offered through pageant competition that a price tag can not be put on- personal development. I feel like I literally "grew up" within the Miss America system, learning how to succeed under pressure, maturely handle personality conflicts and present myself at an array of public events. As an aspiring actress, singer and model, I can not imagine any other way to gain such valuable stage experience.

Only three months after graduating with my Theatre degree, I have landed a job in the entertainment field as the Face of Fox Toledo. I was selected out of nearly a hundred hopefuls, after a three round elimination process. In my final interview, I sat in front of a panel of six interviewers and three camera people, all watching and waiting to be impressed by me. Thanks to pageants, this unnerving situation was one I had faced two dozen times before. I had heard many pageant women say it before me, and now I agree, my experience in pageant interviews made a real job interview a walk in the park! I am now an on air personality and station representative for hundreds of public events. I know I landed this job thanks to the public speaking, stage presence and interview skills I learned while competing in the Miss America Scholarship program.

I believe pageants can give young women in America the skills to accomplish whatever it is they set their minds to. We are a diverse group of young women who do not let pageantry define us, but allow it to refine us, so that we may better serve the world around us. ~Abby

I have to give credit where credit is due… The best line, about being refined not defined by pageantry, is not my own. During Miss Ohio week this year, producer John Kunkel allowed a few former contestants to share words of wisdom with the contestants during our rehearsals. One of whom was the daughter of volunteer Karen Lash and granddaughter of interview award scholarship donor Rosalie McAtee. (I do not recall this former contestant’s first name and would be grateful if someone could leave it as a comment.) Anyway… she gave a powerful impromptu speech which included the line I “borrowed” above.


  • Very eloquent, very honest, very true. Beautifully put, yet simple.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:13 PM  

  • Very scrupulous attribution of the quote, Abby, and all the more powerful essay because of it!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:45 PM  

  • Thank you both! That means a lot coming from two of the most intelligent women I know!


    By Blogger Abby Bollenbacher, at 8:47 AM  

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