Miss Idaho 2008

Meet Elise Davis,
Miss Idaho 2008!

Local Title to Compete at Miss Idaho: Miss Idaho Falls

Talent: Vocal Performance of “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini

Platform: Sharing Strength, Creating Character: Women Mentoring Girls

Favorite memory from competing at Miss Idaho: There are so many memories I cherish from competing at Miss Idaho, so it’s impossible to pick just one! I loved all the girls in my class, and we all had such a good time goofing around back stage during rehearsals. There was also the moment right after I won when I realized my then-boyfriend had driven up to the pageant last-minute to surprise me and was in the audience to see me win.

But my favorite memory from Miss Idaho was the night before the competition when I was alone in the gym at our hotel. I remember working out in the quiet and feeling an overwhelming sense of calm and confidence that I’d never felt before and that I’ve never really felt since. I knew in that moment that I was there for a reason, and that the Miss Idaho Pageant was going to be the beginning of something truly special in my life.

Favorite portion of the competition: The talent portion was the whole reason I started competing in pageants. I grew up taking classical voice lessons and figured I might be able to win a little scholarship money if I could win the talent portion of the competition at Miss Idaho Falls…but I won the whole thing! I always felt like talent was the moment when I really shined and got to show the audience and judges who I was and what I was all about.

Favorite memory from Miss America: The night I competed in the evening gown portion of the pageant, Clinton Kelly, from “What Not to Wear” was sitting on the front row at the Planet Hollywood. After the competition that evening, he came up to me and said, “When you came out on stage tonight, I leaned over to my friend and said, ‘Miss Idaho looks just like Grace Kelly.’” Best. Compliment. Ever.

Did you meet any great friends at Miss America? From where? I was closest with South Dakota and Wisconsin (we all referred to each other by our state names, as opposed to our real names). We were roommates and teammates on the green team during the “Countdown to the Crown” reality show on TLC.

How has being Miss Idaho influenced your life now? There’s nothing like the confidence that comes from being a Miss American titleholder, and that confidence benefits me both personally and professionally every day! I currently work as brand strategist for Ogilvy & Mather, a worldwide advertising agency with over 450 offices around the globe. I spend the majority of my time building client relationships, leading agency meetings and presenting research and strategy, so the poise, passion and public speaking experience I gained as Miss Idaho has definitely impacted my life for the better!

What lessons did you learn from competing? The two most important things I learned from competing were:

1. When you look the part, you can play the part. I found that looking your best and having the right outfit can make all the difference in feeling confident – whether that’s for an important business meeting or just working out!

2. Never underestimate the importance of preparation. Competing requires you to prepare for a lot of different events at one time: public speaking, performing, physical fitness, etc. I spent more time preparing for some events than others, and I always did best on the events where I put in more time.

What part of Miss America do you look forward to today? Evening gown is my favorite! Onstage question and talent stress me out because not all the contestants perform well during those segments, but competing in evening gown at Miss America is the kind of experience that makes every contestant feel absolutely beautiful, and it shows!

What was it like being Miss Idaho? It sounds cliché, but being Miss Idaho was a 365-day emotional rollercoaster. I experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life during my year of service. There were definitely days and weeks when I felt lonely and a little lost, but those moments were always followed by a once-in-a-lifetime experience like making a difference with my platform, performing at events around the state, and competing at Miss America that made the whole ride worth it.

What is one story that you love to tell people about your year as Miss Idaho? I love telling people that I was on a reality show! It’s such a ridiculous, random experience. The show was called “Countdown to the Crown,” and it aired on TLC. We lived on the Queen Mary boat in Long Beach Harbor for a month and competed in a series of team and personal competitions. There was a scavenger hunt, obstacle course, dress design challenge, and talent show. If you won a challenge, you got a “golden sash” and were then eligable to be voted into the top 15 at Miss America. My team won two of the challenges and we were all awarded with golden sashes on the final episode.

Miss Idaho 1993

Meet Roseanna Boyle Holliday, Miss Idaho 1993!

Local Title to Compete at Miss Idaho:  Miss Twin Falls (now Miss Magic Valley)

Talent: Vocal: How Could I Ever Know from The Secret Garden

Platform:  Prevention of Disease Through Nutrition

Favorite memory from competing at Miss Idaho: Building relationships with other contestants – most of whom are still part of my life today….

Favorite portion of the competition:  Interview and Swimsuit

Favorite memory from competing at Miss America: Loved performing on that famous Miss America stage and brings tears to my eyes thinking about walking the runway in Atlantic City.  Also, the visitations were SO much fun – all of my Idaho peeps were always at my table cheering really loud and welcoming me in each night just boosting my confidence and making my experience memorable.  My TC (traveling companion) was awesome and so supportive.

I remember getting ready to perform my talent on preliminary night and here comes Miss Kentucky from her performance crying and upset.  I tried to comfort her and she mentioned that her performance wasn’t what she expected and she could tell her state peeps were upset.  I grinned and said that I thought she did an amazing job (she really did!) and thought to myself that my state is SO supportive and would probably love me if I accidently walked out in swimsuit during talent or something else…..

I wore this huge head piece (definitely show girl material), mostly because I was one of the tallest contestants.  We spend two weeks, flying into Philadelphia, being escorted to a variety of events and the security was overwhelming (even for the early 90s).  Idaho’s media was very supportive and wanted to interview me most everyday and even other states (mostly radio DJs) wanted to know who Miss Idaho was…  I was willing to talk to anyone.  I was even awarded the best swimsuit award on MTV’s Pauly Shore show (too bad he wasn't one of my judges… LOL).

Favorite memory from being at Miss America: Board walk parade…  loved showing my potato shoes and announcing to the world the nutrition information of an Idaho potato. This was a perfect fit because I just became a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (from U of Idaho) and nutrition was my platform

Also, being from a conservative state, my state director(s) weren’t happy with my boyfriend (now husband) hanging out.  We couldn’t really hug (kissing, no way!) or show affection for each other.  One of the pictures we took together is of us not really touching each other (just to be silly…)

Did you win any prelims at Miss America? Which ones? No, darn.  But I thought I was in Top Ten because the producers always called me out and asked me to lead all the contestants in all the patterns and dance routines.

Did you meet any great friends at Miss America? Yes… From where?  Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin.  Miss Washington and I were best buds and we ran into Miss Oregon at Starbucks (imagine that) in Kansas City.  I can’t wait for my 20 - year reunion at Miss America this year.  It will be SO much fun to see each other again and catch up.

How has being Miss Idaho influenced your life now?  Currently, I am the Director of the Miss Magic Valley Scholarship Program.  Having the experience at both Miss Idaho and Miss America provides credibility to not only this organization in my belief to promote and encourage women to further their education and serve others, but aids in helping or offering advice to these wonderful young, articulate women that compete for a title.

The platform concept was pretty new when I was competing, but I honestly just implemented my passion, which was nutrition.  As Miss Idaho, I was able to travel across the state, visit over 100 schools to discuss the important role that nutrition plays as part of a healthful lifestyle.  I learned SO much over my year and am honored to have been given the opportunity to take the crown into every one of Idaho’s communities.  Every once in a while, someone will say to me – You came to my school,  I really appreciated your message of good nutrition and taking care of yourself.

In fact, nutrition is and continues to be my life’s work.  As many of you know, I received my BS in Nutrition from University of Idaho (scholarships from Miss Twin Falls/Magic Valley and Miss Idaho) and my MPH from the University of Minnesota (scholarships from Miss America).  I also received my doctorate from the University of Connecticut in Nutritional Sciences (of which during my interview my main advisor wanted to know more about my experience at Miss America).  Anyway, as President of the Idaho Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics this past year, I was invited to speak at a committee meeting of Idaho State Legislature (both House and Senate) – guess what my topic was:…..  Prevention of disease through nutrition (yup, my platform), specifically relating to the state health insurance exchange.  My husband even mentioned to me after my presentation(s) this past January, how something I worked on 20 years ago, was still part of my life and I had the opportunity to share my passion and life’s work with Idaho State Legislators (albeit, 20 years later, but hey, better late than never…..).

What lessons did you learn from competing?  You are only competing against yourself and it is important not to get caught up in who looks good in what or the latest fashion or gossip.  Really rings true in my life today (both personal and professionally).  Just be the best mom, professor, director, friend that you can be and don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Also, how to be confident and articulate in all aspects of my life.

What part of Miss America do you look forward to today?  I am thrilled beyond belief that Miss America is heading back to Atlantic City.  Oh, the board walk parade, seeing all the stores (merchants) and people excited to welcome the contestants back to the boardwalk.  Miss America originated in 1921 on the boardwalk (beach) in Atlantic City as a way to celebrate summer and has evolved and changed over the years to provide over $45 Million in scholarships to young women.  This competition is a life changer, especially for one lucky girl who will become Miss America.

What was it like being Miss Idaho? A lot of work.  Seriously, performing my talent, speaking and articulating my message to various groups and a variety of ages.  I look back on my year knowing that 365 days were spent representing our state to the best of my abilities and hopefully making a difference in the lives of others.

What is one story that you love to tell people about your year as Miss Idaho? A lot of people are confused about the difference between Miss America and Miss USA.  When someone asks me about being a beauty queen, I graciously remind them that I wasn’t involved in a beauty pageant, but a scholarship program.  I love to tell them about all the doors that opened during my year and how I am still articulating my platform across this great state.  Most people know or have seen Miss America program and the notoriety that comes with the title.  As I’ve lived in 5 different states over the past 20 years, everyone I encountered that hears I am a former Miss Idaho always asks me something along the lines of…  Did I have a good experience or a good year as Miss Idaho (sometimes with a coy little smile wanting to hear the gossip)?  I always tell them that I would do it again in a heart beat (minus a few pounds and wrinkles) because I had an amazing year and learned SO much being Miss Idaho 19 ninety (cough, cough)……  No, just teasing, 1993.  I am truly humbled and honored to have held this title for a year and am thankful for the opportunity to serve others and hopefully make a difference.

Miss Idaho 1998

Meet Miss Idaho 1998, Tammy Toney Paul!

Local Title to Compete at Miss Idaho: Miss Southern Idaho

Talent: Operatic Vocal

Platform: Math Literacy

Favorite memory from competing at Miss Idaho: Well, finally winning after many tries was nice. ;) Also, so many of the women I competed with throughout the years became dear friends and still are. I loved all the bonding during rehearsals and appearances. Oh, and Margene’s breakfast potatoes on the early morning with Larry Gebhart. Mmmmmmm!

Favorite portion of the competition: Interview

Favorite memory from competing at Miss America: I was first in competition and was able to change from opening number to swimsuit in 45 seconds. Should I be proud of that? ;)

Favorite memory from being at Miss America: I bonded with Miss Oklahoma and we hung out so much, I started talking with a southern accent. So, after a while I wasn’t allowed to play with her anymore until after interviews.

Did you meet any great friends at Miss America? From where? Yes – Oklahoma, Delaware, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michigan

How has being Miss Idaho influenced your life now? I think it influenced my outlook in life. I find that I approach situations with more confidence and poise. I also feel able to relate to all people, regardless of age, circumstances or status.

What lessons did you learn from competing? It taught me a lot about the importance of perseverance, hard work and believing in yourself.

What part of Miss America do you look forward to today? I like the interview portion, so probably on-stage question.

What was it like being Miss Idaho? Enriching. At times it could be difficult and demanding, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed every minute. I competed for several years before winning the title and I was very proud of the accomplishment and honored to have the opportunity. I was intentional about savoring each appearance I attended and delighting in each person I encountered.

What is one story that you love to tell people about your year as Miss Idaho? As my year was coming to an end, I met a new local titleholder who insisted that I should meet her brother. When you’re Miss Idaho, everybody you meet in every little town wants to introduce you to their brother, son, grandson, nephew, etc. As sweet and flattering as it is, after a while it becomes a bit exhausting. So, when she suggested I meet her brother, I just smiled. Each time I saw her in next couple of months and throughout pageant week, she continued to tell me that I needed to meet her brother. I continued to politely decline. Well, that young lady ended up winning the title of Miss Idaho. Throughout the summer, we talked several times as she prepared for Miss America. She continued to talk about her brother and even invited me to her birthday party hoping to introduce us. I remember thinking, “I’m sure your brother is really great, but you seriously need to drop it.” Just before Miss America, the Miss Idaho board throws a send-off party for the current Miss Idaho. I was encouraged to go and intended to make a quick appearance to wish her a final good luck. When I got to the party, I looked around and spotted a very handsome young man in a green shirt. I found the current Miss Idaho and said, “Is that your brother? I’ll meet HIM!” We have been married for 12 years and have 3 children. :)