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Interview with Miss West Missoula 2020 – Anna Haslund

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey for my pageant lockdown blog it’s lovely getting to know fellow pageant queens from across the globe.

What made you enter pageants ?

At first, l was very hesitant but l was encouraged by my best friend, Erika Spaulding. Then l told my family and friends about my participation. YES, l was really nervous to see their response! but to my surprise, they have shown support and encouragement. l knew it was time again to recognize a Deaf person who can break down pageant barriers with confidence and inspiration. It’s been a long time since there was a Deaf titleholder. In 1995, Miss Heather Whitestone, became the first Deaf Miss America. I want to give the world another opportunity and privilege to meet a deaf person who can show their potential and deliver their platform effectively. Funny thing, l did convince Erika to join me as a contestant and l wouldn’t have made it without her. Erika wanted to make sure l understood everything going on and behind the stage. After the pageant ended, l thought this was really over for me. However since then, l have received so many invitations to join different pageants. I admit it was really hard to pick one! I chose the Miss Montana for the America, 2020 Pageant.

Can you tell us about your pageant journey so far ?

My current title is Miss West Missoula 2020 for Miss Montana USA pageant.

The Miss Montana USA pageant was my first-and-last list to be checked! *chuckles* My journey was quite amazing and the pageant welcomed me, so kind and sweet, like family. When the first day of pageant rehearsal come up, l was trying my best to be kind with all the contestants and during tryouts we made close bonds, almost like sisters. l offered to help them practice the opening choreography and numbers. We listened to all the contestants share their life stories and we would give each other advice. After the pageant show ended I felt like the girls deserved to be applauded for all their hard work and dedication to making this pageant happen!

What made you decide to compete in Miss Montana for the America ?

This is my second opportunity to be in a pageant, competing for the Miss Montana for the America. As l prepare for the pageant coming up, l wish to inspire everyone not to give up on their dreams and goals. I want young children with disabilities to see this and to be an encouraging role model.

What the best thing that pageants have taught you ?

In the Miss Montana USA pageant, I was in awe of the wonderful and respected directors, David & Maureen Francisco, founder of Pageants NW (Northwest Pacific), who have worked tirelessly and shown so much dedication to make this pageant. I haven’t forget the moment all of us listened to Mr David: “Why dwell and divert your thoughts on the memories of your past…when you can dream and do the memories of your future.” @pageantsnw

What’s your pageant platform and why ?

My platform will be “Voice for Deaf and Hard of Hearing” and it is important to educate people about accessibility with American Sign Language and Deaf Awareness education. Helping others understand hearing loss, and what hard of hearing or profoundly deaf actually mean. Also, helping children to understand accessibility and acceptance in their present setting and advocate for the future of inclusion. Educating the community on various ways to communicate and to embrace new methods.

What’s your dream title ?

My dream title will be a Director of Dance, of a studio for students with disabilities, teaching talent and passionate dance. You see, l was self taught and I love dancing! I sense vibration and move my body accordingly. I would love to teach dances that bring people together. My favorite dance styles include waltz, ballet, jazz and contemporary. My goal will be traveling all over the world to interview each dancer within a different culture. To learn various kinds of dance , their meaning and their origin.

If you were to win what would it mean to you ?

Good tough question. The journey is important and if l am to win, l would be truly honored and consider it a privilege to prepare and represent the title as a full time role model. I like rolling my sleeves up and doing the real hard work! This is important to me because l want the world to be a better place with kindness and positive mental health. For everyone to be heard and to achieve their goals successfully.

What’s the best advice you have for fellow pageant queens ?

To beauty pageant queens, you deserve to be proud of yourself as you carry out the role of queen, all the hard work and preparation, to be a feminine role model who demonstrates kindness and talent. My advice to you: Demonstrate kindness, love and your own beautiful personality! Keep motived and inspire people from your heart and your mind. We can support each others dreams and make many new memories! Much love,with hugs from me.

What was the final of Miss Montana USA like for you ?

Unfortunately, I did not win the title of Miss Montana USA pageant but l was surprised to receive two generous awards: Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality. About four months later, l was utterly shocked when l received a nomination for Most Impactful/ Congeniality from the Global Beauty Awards (l didn’t win but my story has inspired people).It was such an honor to be selected by the audience and by my peers! I was really just trying to show everyone kindness and respect.

What’s your favourite ever appearance so far ?

Dani Walker from Miss Montana 2018. Dani is a truly kind & graceful person. I recommend that any of you who struggle with pageant concerns, please check out Dani Walker’s Youtube. She provides helpful advice and tips to girls who wish to improve their skills in the pageant. @daniwalker

How has the lockdown due to COVID19 effected your pageant journey ?

I have to admit this Covid-19 has affected my pageant journey. l was struggling with my emotions and trying not to lose my confidence. Everything was so different and it affected by original plans concerning my public platform. I really had to think about how to create an effective platform while maintaining social distancing. Thats why l made a personal video on Instagram to express my feelings about my pageant journey thru Covid-19. Trying to keep a positive outlook and knowing the situation affects everyone helps me improve my confidence. Reaching out to others, receiving encouragement and support from friends and family also help me stay strong.

Has Miss Montana for the America been postponed due to COVID19?

Miss Montana for the America been rescheduled twice because of difficulties regarding the event, time and budget, in light of the Center for Disease Control guidelines. There will be a live stream on Facebook and the event will be in Seeley Lake ,MT on June 13th & 14th. Looking forward to this competition with all those sweet and strong contestants!

What makes a good pageant role model ?

Someone who cares about taking good care of herself, physically and emotionally, so she can be ready to step up to the role and provide encouragement and enthusiasm for her community.

What’s your favourite pageant round ?

Swimsuit and gown! It’s an opportunity to show the audience your style, confidence and fun personality.

How do you deal with pageant nerves ?

I calm my nerves down by counting the dance choreography and remind myself to not be afraid of the stage. Just be yourself out there on the stage and shine like the star your are!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions about your pageant journey and sharing your story. You really are an inspiring Queen. I really hope you will compete again as your platform and journey is incredible. I feel very honoured to have interviewed you today. I wish you all the best in the future. Much Love Charlotte, Ms Diamond South Yorkshire 2020.

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