10 Questions With Penn State Majorette And Miss PA Hopeful Katie Carlson

Katie Carlson knows what she wants — and in less than two weeks, it’s the Miss Pennsylvania crown. The aspiring broadcast journalist is a Penn State Majorette and successful beauty pageant contestant. After winning Miss Greater Juniata Valley, she will compete against 38 other contestants to become the next Miss Pennsylvania. Katie will take the stage on June 10 and 11 in Pittsburgh, and spent some time talking with Onward State about her the upcoming pageant, her career, and more.

If she can become Miss PA, then Katie Carlson will earn a generous scholarship and the chance to become Miss America.
If Katie Carlson can capture the Miss PA crown, she will earn both a generous scholarship and the chance to become Miss America. Photo:

Onward State: How did you start competing in pageants?
As a young child I competed in a couple of pageants, but was not serious about them. I really started my junior year of high school in the Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen competition. I placed third runner-up and fell in love with competing. I was encouraged to compete by the young women on my baton twirling team in New Hampshire. Many of those women competed in the program and spoke so highly of it that I had to give it a try.

OS: For those who don’t know, can you talk a little bit about what the Miss PA pageant is and how it works?
Katie Carlson: Miss Pennsylvania is a scholarship program through the Miss America Scholarship Organization. If I am to become Miss Pennsylvania I will go on to compete for Miss America. The pageant will consist of five phases of competition. Swimsuit worth 15 percent, evening wear worth 20 percent, talent worth 35 percent, on-stage question worth 5 percent, and interview worth 25 percent. The woman crowned Miss Pennsylvania will serve the state for the year. She travels the state making appearances and volunteering her time along with competing for Miss America in September.

OS: What do you hope to take away from the experience?
KC: I just hope to be as successful as I can. The process and journey to the pageant is a lot of hard work and dedication. All 40 participants are hoping to hear their name called as Miss Pennsylvania. That would be my best possible outcome, however, this is also an opportunity to make friends for life and earn more scholarship to be able to pay to attend the university that I love.

OS: What would competing in for Miss America mean to you?
Competing in Miss America has been a dream of mine since childhood. To compete on the national stage would be a dream come true. I would be honored and so blessed to be Miss Pennsylvania and have the opportunity to compete for Miss America.

OS: How has your time as a majorette prepared you for this experience?
KC: As a Penn State Majorette, I have performed in front of 100,000 fans at football games. I believe that this has prepared me to perform nationally on the Miss America stage. Being a majorette has also helped me to have more experience practicing my talent. There are many aspects of the life of a majorette that have helped me to feel ready for Miss Pennsylvania.

OS: What talent will you be performing? (I can guess…)
KC: I will be performing a baton twirling routine to “Dancin’ Fool” by Barry Manilow.

OS: What do you say to critics of beauty pageants who feel that they reinforce outdated stereotypes of what a woman should or should not be?
KC: I tell them that the Miss America program is the leading scholarship program for women in the world. This is so important because it gives so many women the ability to go to a school they may not have been able to attend otherwise. The program also encourages a healthy lifestyle, intelligence, hard work, and dedication.

OS: Does that sort of criticism bother you?
KC: It doesn’t bother me anymore, because I know winning Miss Pennsylvania or Miss America is not about winning a rhinestoned crown, it’s about what you do with your “fame” and your crown that matters. The criticism gives me the motivation to prove the critics wrong.

OS: Would winning Miss PA change your life in a significant way?
KC: It absolutely would. I would be taking a year to be Miss Pennsylvania and to serve every community in the state. I would gain life-changing experience throughout my year and fulfill a life-long dream.

OS: Will you be repping Penn State in any way?
KC: There is a 10-minute private interview portion of the pageant. In this portion I will make it known that I am Penn State. This is the best area of competition to “rep” Penn State and to show the judges how much I love the school I attend and how thankful I am for the scholarship I have earned to help me get there.

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About the Author

Mike Bacior

I'm Mike Bacior. I major in Economics at PSU. I obsess over many things including mixed martial arts, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Taylor Swift. Find me on Twitter @MikeBacior or shoot me an email [email protected].

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