The Crown Breakdown: The Journey of Miss Greater Des Moines 2022
“And your new Miss Greater Des Moines is…” The anticipation and suspense were hanging in the air during the longest five seconds of my life. This was a moment I had been waiting for, and in a matter of moments, my dream was becoming a reality.
On August 21, 2021, I was crowned Miss Greater Des Moines 2022. After months of preparation, hours of hard work and self-discovery, I was granted the opportunity to give back to the city that has given me so much.
Becoming Miss Greater Des Moines
This is not my first local title in the Miss Iowa Scholarship Organization, rather I began competing 12 years ago as a 10-year-old girl who simply wanted to sing for people, drawn in by the talent phase of competition. Now, as a 22-year-old soon-to-be college graduate, I have fallen in love with everything this organization stands for. By competing in phases such as private interview, on-stage interview, social impact pitch, talent and evening wear, I’ve been able to hone my talents and skills with professional development while gaining a sense of self-confidence that is catapulting me into a successful career.
Although this is not my first experience in the program, the title of Miss Greater Des Moines has been a dream of mine for years. I moved to Greater Des Moines (DSM) from the Quad Cities three years ago to pursue my post-secondary education at Drake University, my bags packed full of college supplies and trepidation. I was incredibly nervous about leaving everything familiar behind and starting over in a place I knew so little about. Would I like it here? Will I make friends? What if I don’t belong? It took only one day for me to find those answers and realize that this was the place I was meant to be.
Something I picked up on immediately was the thriving culture here in DSM. The kind people, the limitless stream of opportunities and the sense of community among everyone struck me. I felt a warm welcome at every corner, encouraging me to get involved and immerse myself in every way that I could. There was never any doubt that this was a place I could find my purpose. Everything I could have asked for and more belong to this city, and I knew early on that I wanted to give back.
On the surface, many do not realize that one of the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program’s central tenets is service. Every candidate and titleholder, even at the local level, is encouraged to engage in community service, whether it be for their personal cause that they support (called their Social Impact Initiative) or giving back in other ways. I saw the crown as a springboard; a way to extend my voice and the work I was already doing on an elevated platform to reach even more people across the area in a more meaningful way. Living out this goal of mine and wearing a banner across my chest that allows me to represent DSM has been the most humbling experience.
Since being crowned in August, I have completed more than 100 hours of service throughout the community and state of Iowa. Each and every event or project has been memorable in its own way, having facilitated new connections and renewed my sense of purpose in this position. A few of my favorite moments include: singing the national anthem at an Iowa Wolves game, volunteering at Christkindlmarket Des Moines and meeting with Rotary and Kiwanis organizations across the region.
Advocacy Work + Volunteering
A large portion of the work I've done throughout my reign has been for my personal initiative geared towards education and advocacy for type 1 diabetes (T1D). When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with T1D, and my life changed forever. I had no one at school to understand what I was facing, and suddenly had to manually fill in the gaps of what others’ bodies naturally do. Daily insulin injections and careful monitoring of blood glucose levels wore me down but learning that there are more than 1.6 million Americans undergoing my same struggles while hoping for a cure, I knew that I was going to do everything I could to see an end to this disease.
Since my diagnosis, I've been fighting for affordable insulin prices, raising funds towards a cure and educating others to dispel the myths surrounding diabetes. As Miss Greater Des Moines, I've been given the platform to expand my initiative even more. I've spoken to hundreds of students and teachers about T1D, partnered with the Nebraska-Iowa chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and created events to raise funds for the cause.
I've been so fortunate to receive such outstanding community support throughout this journey and as I prepare to compete for the title of Miss Iowa this June. Everything I am and all that I have accomplished is due to the people who made me who I am today. There are a million thank yous to give out, even as my time in this role is only half over. Looking back on those agonizing five seconds of waiting to hear the words I had been longing to hear, I am reinvigorated for the remainder of my year and will continue to instill positive change. As I prepare to tackle the Miss Iowa stage this summer, I will carry with me every experience and person I've met along the way. DSM, I hope to make you proud!
Are you interested in moving to Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Relocation Packets offer information on everything from neighborhoods and shopping to parks and local attractions. Or, kick start your career by checking out the DSM USA Career Center. It has over 10,000 jobs listed!