Someday, when my skin is weathered with wrinkles and I’ve gained a few wisps of white in my hair, I know I’ll continue to remember and recount my year as Miss North Dakota. I’ll look back at the photos and recall the memories of exploring my beautiful home state, of competing and representing North Dakota at the 100 Year Anniversary Competition of Miss America, and the moments spent fostering relationships — both the new and the old — while encouraging others to do the same.
How does one even begin to summarize the impact that such a year has had on their life? With nearly 20,000 miles driven across North Dakota, over 15,000 miles flown, and more than 16 million views on TikTok, I realize that this past year is in fact not about the quantities but rather the quality of relationships and experiences that have been gained. I look back and see a vast spectrum of colors — experiences, individuals, and moments that have molded and shaped me into the person that I am always becoming, and I can only hope that I’ve in turn been able to return the favor to those who’ve surrounded me.
This once-in-a-lifetime role has changed me for the better. And because of that, I am forever grateful.
My journey to becoming Miss North Dakota was years in the making. The first time I stepped foot in Williston, North Dakota I was nineteen years old and had arrived by train from Whitefish, Montana where I had recently completed a week of camp counselor training. Upon arrival, I hadn’t showered in days and was wearing dirty gym shorts and my favorite pair of Chaco sandals. Within an hour I had showered, shaved my legs, and secured my sparkly wardrobe and was ready to embrace another side of myself for the week that followed. However, I quickly learned that being a candidate for the job of Miss North Dakota really wasn’t all that different from being a counselor (other than perhaps the wardrobe that frequently required a crown and showering more than once a week.) Along with its emphasis on service, scholarships, and professional development, I was drawn in by the community of people that existed within the Miss North Dakota Organization.
While I was thrilled to be a candidate for the job of Miss North Dakota, I didn’t win that first year, nor the second or even the third. And yet, over the course of those multiple years I felt God gently telling me, “not yet.” I sensed that I needed to be patient, remain persistent, and find peace if I was to someday win. Of course, there were moments when I doubted myself — plenty of them actually. And in those moments, I’m grateful that I had a village of friends and family who were there to remind me of my worth, value, and goals. They were the ones who encouraged me to continue pursuing my dream of becoming Miss North Dakota and throughout this wonderfully wild past year have been my greatest supporters.
I must share a few thank yous —
“Thy will be done.”
And to our beautiful next Miss North Dakota, I look forward to cheering you on and supporting you from the sidelines. You are entering a special sisterhood, forever family, and life chapter that will leave you fuller then you could ever imagine.
As I enter this next season, I’ve been reminding myself that the best is yet to come. This is only the tip of the iceberg of a lifetime full of opportunities, joy, and friendship. I am forever humbled, grateful, and honored to have served this year as Miss North Dakota and am eternally blessed by the relationships that have been forged.
Thank you, North Dakota.
Here’s to the next adventure!
Your forever Miss North Dakota 2021
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.