Q. How did you first become involved in the Miss Vermont competition?
A. I started competing in pageants when I was 8 years old. At first, it was a way for me to get out of my shell. As I got older and headed off to school, I realized how expensive higher education really is. I began looking for ways to pay for school. That’s when I got involved with the Miss Vermont competition. I realized this program could help pay for my college and give me skills that I can use in my daily life. I was empowered with an overwhelming confidence that helped me become proficient in interviewing, public speaking, and being a young professional.
A. My 8 year-old self was freaking out with excitement! This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl. Going to Miss America was a once in a lifetime experience. I met famous people, ate like a queen, had a police escort anywhere I went, my own personal bodyguard, made friends with the most intelligent, talented, and beautiful women across the country, and got to share my love of aviation and passion for educating young girls about this field on the Miss America stage.Q. Some people have stereotypes around the Miss America phenomenon – all about bodies, fashion, swim suits etc. How would you address these?
A. I call BS. Look at the women competing for this title. Of course they are beautiful; they radiate kindness, confidence, and intelligence! Anyone who can stand in front of America answering questions about health care reform and doing it with a smile on their face is beautiful. The swimsuit competition is really about confidence and seeing if you have the stamina to travel around the world for a year. The judges want to see if you are physically in shape to handle the job. (Side note: On average Miss America is in a new city every 36 hours…her home base: airports) Am I proud to show off my body? HECK yes! I worked hard for the body I have. I made it strong and healthy so I can withstand anything that comes my way. But, Miss America is more than the swimsuit competition! I’m proud to be a feminist and I’m also proud to compete for Miss America. I was able to educate America about my passion: aviation. By flying myself into the competition, I showed America how strong and important women are in our society. The women that compete for this title are lawyers, pilots, doctors, aviators, and future leaders of this country. We are well-rounded, polished, and professional young women that focus on serving our communities and getting scholarship money to further our educations.
Q. Talk about your education at UVM – describe your course of study and your biggest takeaways from your college career.
A. Everyday I throw a quick thank you up to the big guy upstairs for my education. As a UVM Public Communications major, I learned how to communicate on many different levels and through a variety of platforms. From writing a simple email to talking with Burlington Tower before a flight, I learned how to successfully relay my thoughts so others can understand
A. Every Miss America contestant has a platform that she focuses on during her year of service. As a female pilot, I see how the lack of women in the field is hurting society. As Miss Vermont, I go around the state educating our youth about the importance of having women in STEM. Aviation is my greatest passion and I am so proud to be a pilot.Q. Do you see Vermont as a unique and special place within the US, given your Miss America adventures?
A. As Miss Vermont, I travel around the state, but also around the country. Every time I go somewhere new I absolutely love it. That’s one of the reasons I got my pilot’s license in the first place, because I love to travel! But, at the end of the day it’s not like Vermont. They don’t have green mountains, maple syrup, or local brews like Vermont does. I literally have the best job in the entire world. There is no state like my home, Vermont.
Q. Anything else we should know?
A. You can follow my journey on social media! I’m on Facebook as Miss Vermont Erin Connor, Twitter: @MissAmericaVT, Insta: @MissAmericaVT, and snapchat: @MissAmericaVT.I also am always looking for more appearances! So if you would like Miss Vermont to show up at your next charity event, school assembly, youth organization parade, or anything else, please contact me. I want to meet as many people and travel as much as possible!