53 beautiful ladies will compete for the tittle of Miss America Pageant. The annual competition to judge who will take home the top tiara happens tonight at 9/8 c on ABC. Last year’s winners Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler won it all taking home $50,000 for her education and earning her self the privilege of touring country.
The Miss America Pageant not only includes one contestant from each state, but also ladies for District Colombia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The pageant – which was founded in 1921 – remains to this day the country’s largest scholarship benefactor.
When it comes to pageantry, noting and no one beats Miss America, for the first time and autistic contestant will participate in Miss America. Miss Montana 18-year-old, Alexix Wineman was diagnosed with borderline Asperger Syndrome at age 11 “I felt so alone growing up, and I still do at times” Through years of “overwhelming and daily” challenges that included bullying from peers and bouts of self-deprecation, Wineman never stopped trying to push past her hardships. She underwent extensive counseling, received help with schoolwork, joined speech and drama clubs, and joined the cheerleading squad, eventually overcoming her struggles with anxiety and self-consciousness.
“Most people do not understand what autism is,” Wineman says in a promotional video for Saturday’s competition. “And one in 88 people having some form of autism — this understanding is becoming more and more necessary.” She is the youngest of the contestants she hopes to spotlight will help her shine much-needed light on her condition.
Miss Puerto Rico and Miss New Mexico– will be representing Latinas. Miss New Mexico Candice Bennatt 23-years-old is passionate about helping others: once a victim of domestic abuse, she wants to earn a law degree and become a family attorney. Bennatt is an accomplished dancer; she will be showing on the dance floor in the talent portion of the pageant. “My mom worked several jobs to be able to afford me dance lesson and other extracurricular activities,” “I danced since the age of three for a community dance school, then high school dance team and then honorably as an NFL cheerleader. I feel so lucky to have ever made it to the see the day of achieving some of my early goals of graduating college, dancing for an NFL team and speaking on a national political radio show.” She also loves speaking to youth she frequently travels in New Mexico and Texas, where she’s from, and delivers speeches to high school youth about dating abuse.
Miss Pueto Rico Kiaraliz Medina was raised in the town of Moca, she is thrilled about representing the tiny island on the national level. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity given me to represent my people and I will proudly,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I want to be the example not only for Puerto Rico, but also for the world. I have the privilege of having a huge support group such as my friends and family. Thank you very much. I promise not to disappoint.” Medina’s platform issue is “The Power Within Us,” a statement which she’ll be taking to heart as she competes in this year’s pageant. If she wins, she will be the first Miss Puerto Rico to wear the Miss America crown.