Head-to-head for the crown

Caitlyn Nichols

Nine students from Weber State University are among the 12 total candidates in the Miss Weber County Scholarship Pageant this year.

These nine women are Hailey Slone, Shyanne Smith, Kaycee Dall, Hailey Thompson, May Chen, Kaylyn Payne, Megan Lippold, Rylie Herrera and Stacey Morrell. On Oct. 19 they will compete for the title and scholarship of Miss Weber County as they showcase their talents, demonstrate good interview skills and present their platforms for providing possible solutions to current issues.

Photos courtesy of Weber County

Patrick Poce, Director of the Miss Weber County Scholarship Pageant for Miss Utah and Miss America, said that the crowned Miss Weber County 2020 will then spend the next year with her two attendants being an advocate for Weber County and attending its events, raising awareness and funding for the Children’s Miracle Network and advocating her social impact platform.

There are three tiers to the Miss America Organization competitions (city/county, state and national), so at the end of her reign, Miss Weber County will then compete for the title of Miss Utah 2021, the winner of which will then be able to continue her social impact platform and will be eligible for the Miss America 2022 pageant.

“Miss Weber County is meant to represent the values of her community and the positive qualities that all young women can represent,” contestant, Stacey Morrell, said.

The Miss America Organization, not to be confused with the Miss USA competition run by the Miss Universe Organization, strives to help young women find success through social impact, scholarship and personal confidence. The four points of the Miss America crown represent the four most important values for the organization: Scholarship, Success, Personal Style and Service.

“Miss America is more known for being focused on personal values, personal quality, rather than just the veneer of beauty that fades. They do care about the poise, the eloquence, the mind of the person… It’s more about what you’re made of than what it looks like you’re made of,” Morrell said.

Morrell also said the competition now more fully supports diversity and positive images. In 2018, the Miss America Organization placed a focus on letting the voices of the girls be heard and decided to stop judging them on outward appearances, including getting rid of the swimsuit portion of all of its competitions.

“My favorite part of the organization is watching these candidates, these young women, change and watch how they become more empowered to be more active and vocal about standing in the community. How they come out of their shell and have to do something that is, you know, not just an ordinary, daily routine type thing. I like to see their growth,” Poce said.

Poce said that many people don’t understand what these pageants are really all about – substance over style – and that what the organization would like to see is people, especially residents of Weber County, coming to see it for themselves and provide support.

“Come to the pageant. It’s inexpensive, and it supports Weber County and supports the girls in their endeavors,” Poce said.