Nina's Miss America Milestones

Miss America Milestones

My Miss Idaho experience has had its fair share of obstacles, yet at the same time it has also been filled with many memorable milestones. Some milestones are significant like placing in the Top 5 at Miss Idaho or perfecting my talent piece. Others, like the slow intrinsic evolution marking the person I have now become, are more subtle. These are the milestones that have defined my life. 

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When I started competing in the Miss Idaho Organization my senior year of high school, I was blindly ambitious and only loved what I assumed would make me successful. Now, I see with purpose. This clarity instilled in me over the last four years has made me a kinder friend, a more passionate scholar, a devout servant to my community, and ultimately, a more authentic version of myself.

Each year competing at Miss Idaho, I gained something different. My first year as Miss Nampa, I found confidence. Growing up with eczema, I always hated the skin I was in. Walking on stage in a swimsuit changed everything for me. It forced me to embrace the flaws I tried so hard to conceal as a teen, but most of all, it altered my lifestyle.

I was always a runner, but every mile I ran left me further out of tune with my body. I would use my 6ft height as an excuse for not being able to touch my toes. Now, after three years of stretching and strength-based exercises, I can do the splits. Most of all, my outlook on fitness has evolved. Working out is not punishing your body for what you ate, rather it is celebrating your body for what it can do. My year as Miss Nampa left me healthier, happier, and more confident.

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My second year competing as Miss Treasure Valley was a test of endurance and personal strength. Being an out-of-state college student miles away from home took a toll on my mental health. Yet while faced with uncertainty and anxiety, I found a crutch through the Miss Idaho Organization. In my third year competing as Miss Pocatello, I finally realized being Miss Idaho goes beyond the State competition. Simply put, being a local titleholder prepared me for the job of being Miss Idaho.

Looking back, though being a local titleholder did not prepare me for 4am wake up calls or hours of traveling in a car, it did prepare me to be the kind of person who is excited to wake up before the sun does and spend hours driving to an appearance knowing that I am making an impact. By being a local titleholder or Miss Idaho, I know I may not be able to change the world, but I can change someone’s world just like this organization has changed my own. I no longer look at service as a task I must complete. Rather, it is an opportunity I want to experience, an opportunity to share joy, hope, creativity, and strength.

This entire chapter of my life can be summed up as one incredible life changing experience. I started to compete because I liked winning, and pageants were the jet fuel to my competitive engine. Over time, winning meant more than just receiving awards or recognition for I found true success in the form of self-betterment. Every local competition I entered, every local title I lost, and every friendship I formed at Miss Idaho made me more successful. While I did not “win” every moment in my Miss Idaho experience, I won the battle that matters most: the battle within. Today I can say that I am compassionate, confident, thoughtful, determined, and resilient. Four years ago, I was none of those things. Four years from now, I know I will be all those qualities and more. I know I will be my best self, and I owe it all to the Miss America Organization.

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Potato Harvest

Potatoes. God bless ‘em. I cannot actually remember a time in my life where I did not know what a potato was. Can you? I love potatoes. I was joking with some gals this week that I do not discriminate – spuds, red potatoes, purple potatoes, sweet potatoes, fried, mashed, au gratin…I like them all!

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            As we think of the things that make Idaho great, potatoes can easily top the list. With the perfect soil and climate (and so many other science pieces I’ve recently learned), Idaho is the ideal place to grow potatoes. I had never heard of potato harvest until a fellow titleholder at Miss Idaho this past year told me about it. As I began to represent this great state I realized I absolutely had to be a part of it all this year!

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            On Monday, October 9th I got to visit Reynolds farm in Ashton, Idaho. Melanie and Brett Reynolds were so gracious to let me (a perfect stranger who they just knew was Miss Idaho!) come hangout and witness a day of their two week harvest. When I got there the first thing they took me to was to see the cellars. These are big buildings built partially underground to keep the potatoes fresh and safe until they are sent out. The Reynolds plant seed potatoes or “first generation” potatoes. These are sold to other farmers to be replanted during the next season! The cellars regulate the temperature, humidity and other environmental factors. When they are full they are the size of a football field and filled 18 feet deep – that is a lot of potatoes. I’ve attached a picture below of me standing on the top of one of full cellar piles. It was amazing!

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    After seeing a full cellar, I got to go be a part of loading another one. Big machinery with large belts are used to transport the potatoes from the truck, sort the dirt off of them and then pile them into the cellar. One job I got to be a part of was grabbing out any extra clumps of dirt and “non-potato items” as they passed by before storage. Everyone there working was warm and welcoming – like a big family. Many of the workers come back to help every year and include some local Ashton youth! Even the older two Reynolds kids, Brooke and Tucker, were out helping. I loved that! It made things fun and eventful. Never a dull moment!

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    Next I hopped in the big potato truck and headed to the field with Melanie. The Reynolds grow over 1,300 acres of potatoes, and we were finishing the last 150 acres while I was there. When we arrived at the field Melanie aligned her truck bed with the tractor. The tractor pulled a combine that would scoop 12 rows of potatoes up at once and dump them into the truck. The process is so fast! I rode on the back of the tractor at one point to watch the whole thing. Could you imagine the days before any farm equipment?

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    There were so many pieces to the process. As someone who had never seen it before, I was truly mind blown. Like many experiences as Miss Idaho, it made me love and appreciate this great state even more. The day was filled with wonderful people working hard doing what they love with the people the love. That sure does sound like the dream to me. Thank you to all of our Idaho potato farmers! I am so grateful for the work you do to help Idaho shine. I can’t wait for potato harvest next year!

What I Am Most Excited For Miss Idaho Week

What I Am Most Excited For Miss Idaho Week

 

Life is short; time is fast, no real life replay or rewind. This is your moment, this is your life.

 

In this very moment I was crowned Miss Ada County 2017 and my journey to Miss Idaho 2017 began. It began the opportunity to change lives, it began the opportunity to grow, it began the opportunity to show others the joy of the Miss America Organization! This moment is one that 21 other local Idahoan women had and cherish each day and one lucky women will be able to have this moment as the new Miss Idaho 2017 at the end of this week.

 

This being not my first go around for the title of Miss Idaho, my favorite thing besides the fun limo rides we get to have during the week, if being able to connect with all the women around me! I have met some of my best friends through this organization and I cannot express enough how amazing EACH AND EVERY SINGLE WOMEN that is going to hit that stage on Friday and Saturday is. These women are strong, passionate, charismatic, thoughtful, genuine individuals who are making a difference in the community! We have fun backstage and create memories that I know I will be sharing with my kids, and their kids someday!

 

 

I want all the contestants competing this weekend to keep in mind this…

 

It's not the title, nor the crown that counts.

It's not the weight that's lost that really amounts.

It's not the makeup design, or the gown that you wear,

Or the shape of your build or the length of your hair.

You see, the growth of a Queen is all done inside,

It's nothing support hose or makeup can hide.

The real preparation is done in the mind,

It's leaving your fears and your faults all behind.

It's lifting your soul to a place that's far seen,

It's molding a woman to the height of a Queen.

It's hard and it's work, it's not easily done,

But when it is over, you'll know who has won.

When the pageant is through and the lights are turned down,

You will know you're a winner and you will have your crown.

You see, all crowns are made different, it's really an art,

Yours can be rhinestones or the growth of the heart.

 

 

I am most excited for this week because not only do I get to have the opportunity to be chosen for my dream job, but also they fact that I get to do it beside such a wonderful group! Cherish the moments you have because in a blink of an eye it can go by so fast. I am so grateful to be able to represent Ada County at Miss Idaho and hope that you can join me on June 9-10th at Kuna High school for the Miss Idaho pageant!

 -Katarina Schweitzer  Miss Ada County 2017

-Katarina Schweitzer

Miss Ada County 2017

Lifestyle and Fitness While Being Body Positive

Lifestyle and Fitness While Being Body Positive

Hello my friends, Miss Middleton here! My platform is entitled “Every Body is Beautiful” and it’s about being body positive, changing media attitudes towards fat acceptance, and combatting eating disorders. I struggled with body image and anorexia for the majority of my teen years but because I became body positive and realized my worth wasn’t equated to a number on a scale or the size of my waist, I was able to let go of my issues. This was a major process for me, one that I am still undergoing. Getting healthy was all in my mind and my mind still fights me every day to go back to my bad habits.

This brings up the question of how I’m getting ready for the swimsuit portion of Miss Idaho?

My preparation is to live my life! It’s called “Lifestyle and Fitness” for a reason! I can’t let my past obsessions with chasing a thin ideal overcome my life and preparation in other parts of the competition. I eat healthfully and enjoy all types of food (even dessert and pizza) and I work out doing things I love (my pup and I love going on walk/jogs, and I enjoy swimming at the pool I lifeguard at).

When I walk that stage, I will be the biggest I’ve ever been. But I’ll also be the healthiest I’ve ever been.

Last year at Miss Idaho, I was chasing my Thin Ideal. I worked out religiously and I cut out all “bad” foods. I didn’t have a good time last year because I resented myself for thinking I didn’t look as good as the other girls. I hated them and I hated myself. Swimsuit was terrifying and I was not the nicest person to be around. Even though I felt and acted the way I did, I was still accepted into the sisterhood, which is why I am back this year (but with a new perspective!).

I am so excited for Miss Idaho this year! Because I value myself more, I can value others more! Every single girl is gonna rock swimsuit!

“You can't rely on how you look to sustain you, what sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion; for yourself and for those around you.”~ Lupita Nyong'o

Getting ready for Miss Idaho I am tempted to focus solely on how I look for the competition-wardrobe, makeup, fitness, the list goes on and on. But this quote reminds me of where my priorities are: being compassionate for others and developing my platform so that I can be an inspiration for young girls who are like how I was-hating my body and only accepting my worth if I was a certain size. Looks fade and go away but a compassionate heart stays beautiful forever