The next Miss Missouri will be crowned this week in northeast Missouri’s Mexico. Young women from across the state are competing for the chance to win scholarship money and the title of Miss Missouri.
The pageant begins today in northeast Missouri’s Mexico and a winner will be crowned Saturday evening. They will take the stage at the Missouri Military Academy for talent performances, social impact pitches, interviews and modeling evening gowns.
The reigning Miss Missouri, Simone Esters, will hand over the crown to the next title holder. Due to the pandemic, she continued to serve in the role in 2020 and was able to still participate in virtual events around Missouri.
Esters began competing in 2017 and was crowned the 2019 Miss Missouri. She placed third in the Miss America competition by showcasing her amazing baton twirling skills and sharing her platform about the importance of mentoring at-risk children and increasing the quality of mentorship.
She says the competition is more than just women and crowns.
“A lot of people see Miss Congeniality or Toddlers and Tiaras, shows like that, and allow that to form their perception of what they think the Miss America or Miss Missouri competition looks like. I was someone that had those stereotypes. It wasn’t until I got involved in the organization that I learned the impact you can have on your communities,” she tells Missourinet.
According to Esters, the Miss America Organization is working to help change that public perception through its rebranding called Miss America 2.0. For example, no more swimsuit competition.
“A lot of people don’t know that Miss America is the leading scholarship provider for young women in America,” she says. “Competing in pageants was never really something I saw on my future trajectory, but the scholarship opportunity was there. A lot of people think that a lot of the girls are really stuck up and super prissy. That could not be further from the truth. I think that everybody that competes is a truly driven, intelligent young woman.”
She says the competition has helped her in so many ways.
“The biggest one, of course, is confidence. I think that is something that I will forever take with me for the rest of my life,” says Esters. “The experience of speaking to large groups and having the ability to kind of lead an interview in the interview room is something that I think has made me a better person and a stronger candidate in the workplace. Also just being able to literally talk to anyone is another skill that has been really refined through my time as Miss Missouri. You meet so many different people and you have to be able to connect with them.”
She says experiencing the diversity the state has to offer has meant a lot to her.
“I remember I had appearances all the way in the city of St. Louis talking to inner city schools. Then, the next day I was out in rural Missouri speaking to a school with only 50 kids in a graduating class. Just being able to see the diversity that exists in Missouri in all forms is something that is really humbling. The fact that I was able to even then just have a small impact and touch someone’s life in some way for a day is really meaningful.”
One of her favorite quotes that has propelled her through her time as Miss Missouri is “Make everyone feel like a someone.”
“I might be the only Miss Missouri they ever meet. Leaving a positive impression on them is important to me. That is something that I really strive to do, and I really take that with me into all facets now of my life as well,” says Esters.
The next Miss Missouri will compete in the Miss America Pageant in December. This year, the Miss America Organization is celebrating 100 years of pageantry.
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