Wednesday, April 29, 2009

National American Miss Illinois girls help women in their community DRESS FOR SUCCESS

Dasia Clark ,  Miss Illinois Preteen Cover Girl, and Brianna Lewis, National All-American Miss Princess who hails from Illinois recently participated in the non-for profit organization, DRESS FOR SUCCESS, annual "one-suit weekend," on February 19th -22nd. The mission for DRESS FOR SUCCESS is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Dasia and Brianna were determined to collect suits to help enable another individual to reach for their dreams, just as many others have helped them to do. After all of their hard work and determination Dasia and Brianna collected 25 suits for the organization. The suits were collected by one of our local Dressbarn (which is a sponsor and drop-off agent). Dasia and Brianna are excellent role models and ILLINOIS - you should be proud of these future leaders for your state!!

To find out more about DRESS FOR SUCCESS, click here:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

National American Miss girl turns sour lemons into lemonade, mother thanks National American Miss!

I recently received an email from the mother of Mariah Steiner - a Miss Wisconsin Jr. Preteen contestant, who took home the advertising ambassador title last year, as well. I wanted to share this email with you all, as it truly shows the purpose behind National American Miss, regardless of if you win the state title or not.

Mariah who has been competing with National American Miss for the past 3 years is an AMAZING young lady who I have had the fortune of watching grow up - however, last year when Mariah returned from the Wisconsin state pageant, her family was confronted with some horrible news. Her 4 year old little brother, Hunter, was attacked by a stray pitt bull!! Obviously, rushing Hunter to the emergency room was priority and he endured treatment for the next 2 months.

While in the hospital - nurses gave Hunter a stuffed animal to hang on to (still to this, it is Hunter's favorite stuffed toy). And while waiting NUMEROUS hours and days in the hospital waiting room, Mariah and her 2 other siblings were fortunate to have children's books to read instead of boring parenting or political magazines - which the hospital provided. 

Suddenly - Mariah realized why National American Miss' "books and bears" community involvement program was so important and what a difference her involvement was making! However, in true NAM fashion, this little determined diva took NAM's community invovlement program one step further and into her own hands - thus  "OPERATION TEDDY BEARS AND BOOKS" was started! 
You can check out her website by clicking here: OPERATION TEDDY/BOOKS.

Mariah pictured here with Hunter - donating stuffed animals to paramedics, in which they give to children in emergency situations to comfort them

Today, Hunter is doing well and mariah and her mother were so kind to share this story with me and allow me to share it with you all. Mariah's mom ended her email with this; 

"Your pageant has taught her so much about helping other children, and families. Her confidence level is through the roof, she loves going to other schools and putting on demonstrations asking them to help her with Operation teddy bears and books.

To be honest, I first thought pageants were all about looks, being skinny, no glasses, no missing teeth, and no pimples! I was so wrong, and Mariah and our whole family has learned, it is about what is inside, it builds self confidence, self worth, self respect, self confidence. Its about feeling good about yourself whether you win or loose. Public speaking, being involved in your community, helping other people in need even if it means letting something of yours go to help others!

This is the true story about reaching out and touching someone, and teaching yourself and her family just how to do it. Thanks

THANK YOU MARIAH and the whole STEINER family for sharing this story with National American Miss and showing everyone how to turn sour lemons into lemonade!

For those of you who are still new to National American Miss: 10% of the overall competitions is based on each contestants participation in the community involvement, aka "books and bears" program. Each state finalist must bring at least one book of one stuffed animal to the pageant to get this 10% of her score. The first responsibility of new National American Miss state queens and cover girls is to choose a children's charitable organization of her choice - and donate the books and bears to those organizations!! However, like Mariah - you don't just have to win a state competition to realize the importance of giving back and service within your community. If you, too, are interested in donating some of the books and bears from your state pageant to a children's organization, fire department, EMS, hospital, etc - talk to your state director and we would be happy to send you home with books and bears from your state pageant to help give back to those kids in need!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What do National American Miss, the Maples family, and Justin Timberlake have in common??

It's no secret that National American Miss is a FAMILY ORIENTED organization and we put emphasis on family values! Over the years, my mom, dad, myself, and all of our NAM staff have been soo blessed to have been a part of  YOUR families lives and we thank you for that. And for those of you who are new to NAM....welcome to the family!!! I thought I would turn the attention to "family" this week. Having to have gotten to know your families so well over the years, I thought I would let you in on some of "the top 10 unknown facts" about the MAPLES FAMILY. Caution, If you have ever seen the movie, My BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING - that pretty much best depicts the Maples Clan....except we're not Greek....we're from the mid-west. HA!
  • Every night at 5:30 EVERYONE in the Maples family sits down together at the dinner table. The table seats 16 - and sometimes we still have to add chairs!!
  • Breanne has two older brothers, James and Justin, 4 neices and nephews...and the all together have 4 dogs(Bear, Max, Molly, and Bailey May)
  • Aside from Pageants, Kenn and Lani have been in the real- estate business for 25 years, owning over 300 rental properties at one time. They also currently c0-own Maples Farms, with their son James and daughter-in-law Kelly.
  • Kenn and Lani got involved with pageants because they saw the tremendous positive impact it made on their daughter, Breanne
  • Breanne has danced with every member of N'Sync...yes, this means she has danced with Justin Timberlake...and has pictures to prove it!!!!
  • Lani is a hula-hoop champion!
  • When Kenn was a teenager, he dressed up as a clown and performed at birthday parties.
  • Growing up, on every holiday, Lani would ask for a Barbie doll...but NEVER got one. One night, when Kenn and Lani were dating - he gave her a special gift. She opened it up and inside was a Barbie doll. Kenn said, "Now you have your Barbie, " and as he took out the engagement ring, he continued with..."and you have your Kenn." Since then, Kenn gives Lani a Barbie for every special occasion - a tradition which was passed down to Breanne.
  • Growing up, on every holiday, Breanne would ask for the drivable pink Barbie convertible...but she NEVER got one. Now she is holding out for a REAL pink cadillac convertible. 
  • Breanne is STILL bitter about the pink Barbie convertible.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National American Miss Virginia ALL over our TV sets, and owes it all to NAM!!!

After being crowned National American Miss Junior Preteen for Virginia last July, Claire Duval's acting and modeling career took off. She was signed with agent Sylvia Hutson of Hutson Talent Agency at an open call in September 2008 and did her first national SAG-scale commercial as the lead child actor just one month later!!

Her "Affordable Shoe Coaltion" commercial for Congressional Media Corporation was shot at Tyson's Corner mall, VA and first aired October 27, 2008 during CNN's "Situation Room." 
(Claire, left, being crowned Miss Virginia)

After nationals, Claire continued with print and web modeling across Virginia for Kinderhaus Toys and Judy Gibson Photography. Just before attending Miss America in January, Claire wrapped her first television show. 

Look for her in season two of "Wicked Attractions" on the Investigative Discovery Channel this summer. "Wicked Attractions" is a high-crimes drama show and Claire plays young Suesann Knorr in the show "A Mother's Love." In addition, she was on Trinity Broadcasting Network last week in the show "It's Supernatural!" She had lots of fun in that role because she was on the show with three of her siblings. 
(Claire, left, on set)

Claire is a great example of NAM success: a two-time Virginia state winner and in the top five at nationals twice, Claire still finds time to play her violin as part of her church orchestra each week and volunteer at two nursing homes each month. Go Claire!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National American Miss girl is Broadway Bound!

Former Miss Minnesota, Krysti Wiita, is not only - to be honest, the most phenomenal dancer/entertainer I have ever seen(when she was 8 - I witnessed her do 13 pirouettes in a row during her talent performance), but she is FIERCELY working her way up the ladder to stardom. Already having performed with the Radio City Rockettes, this future broadway-bound starlet is starring as Alice in the onstage version of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the Chanhassen Theatre located in Minnesota. The Chanhassen Theatre is, also one of the largest dinner theatres in the country! 

For more information about Krysti's role in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, and how to snag tickets - click here: KRYSTI WIITA/CHANHASSAN

It has been such an honor to watch Krysti, who just turned 18, grow up(we've known her since she was 4). We can't wait to see her on Broadway....there is no doubt this is her next step! WE ARE BEHIND YOU ALL THE WAY KRYSTI!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

National American Miss girls give "Hope" to kids with Cancer

National American Miss Wisconsin royalty joined up with other pageant sisters, including WI Teen USA Elizabeth Bryson (former NAM WI Jr. Teen) to help give hope to kids with cancer through the "Prince and Princess of Hope" pageant. The Prince and Princess of Hope pageant gives kids with cancer a day to feel like royalty. They were pampered from head to toe by pagenat queens - having their hair, nails, and make up done. They even learned an opening number for the pageant!!! Then each child got to take the runway in the formal wear competition, with escorts being the Wisconsin queens. It truly was a day filled with Hope!

Check out some photos from the events!!
WI Miss, Amanda Garrity styles hair

WI Jr. Preteen pampers a child with cancer by giving a manicure

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National American Miss Missouri dances with Pussycat Dolls at Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards!!

Miss Missouri Jr. Teen, Madison Hill...yes, the same NAM girl that stars in the Wii All- Star Cheer commercial - is now also adding "back- up dancer" to her resume. Madison performed at this years Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards with the PUSSYCAT DOLLS(PCD)!!! Madison, who was a back-up dancer for the PCD, told me that she got to meet all kinds of cool people and while dancing with the PCD was  pretty exciting, the best part about the evening was that her trailer was next to the JONAS BROTHERS trailer!!!! Madison was generous enough to share some of her photos with us, as well - so check them out!!
     above at rehearsal
    on the Kid's Choice Stage
         With Nicole from PCD and another back-up dancer
Getting into costume backstage   

The Jonas Brothers passing by

You will have to ask Madison herself about her Kids Choice Awards experience when you see as she gives up her crown at this year's Missouri pageant! But for now, check out her performance with the PCD below!!

MADISON-YOU GO GIRL! We are so proud that you got start right here at NAM!!

Monday, April 6, 2009


We are officially moving the Application Deadline to April 13.
("All applications received in our office, or online, by midnight April 13th will be included in the drawing.")

The drawing will be April 14,
with the results posted on the website at 5:00pm on April 14.


National American Miss' Megan Alexander covers story: Beauty Queen on a Budget - airing on Inside Edition TONIGHT!

If you watch the show,"Inside Edition," then you are familiar with anchor, Megan Alexander. What you may not know is that she is also the wife of  National American Miss' state director, Brian Cournoyer, and one of our official pageant emcee's, and she has been active in pageants for years - shes even a former MISS WASHINGTON!!!

Megan(pictured right in green) covers ALL kinds of stories on "Inside Edition," however, on tonight's show, Megan will be interviewing Miss Washington USA(picture left in white) before she heads to the Miss USA pageant. Yet, this story proves to be quite appealing to any pageant contestant - the story is "BEAUTY QUEEN ON A BUDGET," and features great ways to cut costs and get sponsors when participating in pageants!!


...and get to know more about Megan by following her blog at

Friday, April 3, 2009

Miss USA bound: "Pageant Power Week" begins for 12 Teen USA/USA girls

Miss USA is only a few weeks away and the state titleholders are headed - literally, as I type up this blog - to Vegas to begin their journey to the NATIONAL crown. Many of these state delegates are National American Miss girls: Miss Nebraska - Meagan Winings, Miss Colorado - Patrice Williams, Miss Louisiana - Lacey Minchew, and thats not to mention the 6 TEEN USA state titleholders that will compete for Miss Teen USA later this year that call National American Miss home sweet home. 

However, for 12 ladies( 6 teens and 6 misses) - gearing up for their national competitions began with "PAGEANT POWER WEEK!"  This week-long power week was hosted by Future Productions - the team that directs the Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin,  and Colorado state USA and TEEN USA pageants, and it's purpose are to best prepare the girls for the national competition. I have been fortunate to have known the team behind Future Productions for YEARS, and they were kind enough to forward me this article that was written and is soon to be published about Pageant Power Week! 

However, I  mostly wanted to share it with you because the majority of you can relate, as you have endured your own "power -weeks," as you gear up for pageant time, but it also displays what is most important about pageantry - the friendships, the sisterhood, and the excitement! 
It's time to get in the MISS USA spirit, cheer on our own NAM sisters competing for MISS USA, and check out "Pageant Power Week."

 Your heart is beating so fast you think it might fly out of your chest. Your hands are sweating like mad as you grip on for dear life to the girl that's standing across from you. You're feet kill because you've been wearing the same four and a half inch heels since 8 a.m., the stage lights are blinding and it's all come down to this moment. One you can't believe is finally happening. A million thoughts are running
through your mind; maybe I should have paused longer during swimsuit, I should have answered my question this way instead, and why is the emcee pausing so long? And then the voice cuts in:
"The first runner up, who will assume the role of the titleholder if she cannot fulfill her duties is..."

Your name isn't called. You heart drops for a second and disappointment washes over for a brief moment and you feel slightly numb.

Then you remember. "Wait no. That was first runner-up. They haven't said my name yet. OMG! I won!"

Congratulations! You're the 2009 Miss/Teen USA titleholder! Now where do you go? There's obviously the national pageant co-owned by Donald J Trump and NBC Universal, but how do you even begin to prepare for a competition that features the best of the best?

For the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA titleholders in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming there's an answer; Pageant Power Week.
Future Productions, LLC, a Minneapolis based production company, is licensed to produce state preliminary events for the Miss Universe Organization. Under the co-direction of Denise Wallace-Heitkamp and Craig Heitkamp, Future Productions has been putting on a power-packed week of training, practicing, and memory making for their state titleholders since 2002.

“The Future Productions staff knows what it takes to become Miss Teen USA (ie: Hilary Cruz – Miss Teen USA 2007), and has put together a crew to prepare the FP girls for the national pageant, so it’s important to be open to all suggestions! Every girl competing is beautiful and every girl is fit, so you must push yourself to be your personal best and stand out,” said Miss Wyoming Teen USA, Amy David. This rocky mountain native and competitive freestyle skier preparing to compete in the 2014 winter Olympics adds, “We cannot lower the mountain, therefore we must elevate ourselves.”

"Pageant Power Week is unique in that we bring all 12 state titleholders together (6 Teens and 6 Miss) and provide them a week of Pageant Training," Denise Wallace-Heitkamp, co-director for Future Productions said. " The ladies are given all of the professional services needed to prepare for the national pageants. In the process of this, they are given a chance to improve themselves and to come away from the event feeling like they are ready to compete on a national level and to hopefully win and bring home the national title to their state."

During the weeklong training the titleholders meet with a team of professionals in all areas of competition. Dr. Don Baker prepares them for interview and Brenda Torre; an image consultant and makeup artist, helps create a winning look. The girls then jump into appointments with physical fitness experts, dentists, gown shop owners and hair stylists. Music is played as the titleholders stay up late mastering their walks and turns and over 25 pageant volunteers pile into a meeting space to perform mock interviews that are video taped and sent to the girls for review.

When asked talking about what part of the week was a bit easier for the girls, Wallace-Heitkamp replied:

"Looking at gowns! Every lady loves to dress up and wear nice things! Going into the gown shop and having the whole place to yourself and getting to try on lots of gowns, is every girl's' dream!"

During their Pageant Power Week stay, the titleholders brought 
excitement to the Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Basketball game with an appearance sitting courtside.

“I mean what’s not to love about trying on gowns, getting your hair done, going to a Timberwolves game, and meeting new people? It was incredible!” Chelsea Gauger, Miss Iowa USA, said of Pageant Power Week.

While the ultimate goal at the end of the week is for each lady to leave with a game plan and the skills necessary to compete at the national level, all the titleholders leave the week with something more.

"The other girls and I would stay up late just having "girl time" but I wouldn't take it back for the world," Taylor Schettler, Miss Colorado Teen USA, said. "The friendships I'll have going to Miss Teen USA are going to be the absolute best part of it all."

The titleholders start Pageant Power Week looking at each other as “the ones to beat” and by the end realize they are their own competition. Throughout the weeklong process they have made friendships that will last a lifetime and know that during their stay at the national pageant, they will have a group of girls they are close to who they can sit back and relax with. Upon arrival at the national event other states will soon learn they are the “FP Girls.”

While at age five, Alexandra Wehrley, Miss Wisconsin USA, wanted to be a fashion designer, Vanessa Johnston, Miss Minnesota Teen USA, wanted to be a princess and Fallyn Patterson, Miss South Dakota Teen USA, wanted to be a marine biologist; these ladies only want one thing after leaving Pageant Power Week… The Crown!

Written by: Andrew Riebhoff, Edited by: Breanne Maples

MISS USA airs APRIL 19th on NBC!!!!!! STAY TUNED!!!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

National American Miss Iowa, Randina Elsner, makes headlines again for her community involvement

The Miss Iowa, Randina Elsner is just ALL over the place these days! The Cedar Rapids Rough Riders season home game on April 3rd will be more than just the hockey game of the season. This year, the Rough Riders and NAM Miss Iowa, Randina Elsner, are teaming up with radio station - KHAK, and PODS Eastern Iowa for a food drive to benefit the HACAP Food Reservoir, by having spectators purchase their tickets through can food donations! Read more about Randina and her involvement in this project  by clicking the icon below.