Miss America experience
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The Miss America Experience: Through The Eyes of Miss North Dakota, Reyna Bergstrom

I first became involved with the Miss North Dakota Organization in 2015 during my first year of college, because it’s first and foremost a scholarship organization. The Miss America Organization is the leading provider of scholarships to women in the United States.

To Connecticut!

DAY 1 I m off Flying from Hector Airport to Connecticut
Reyna ready to depart from Hector International Airport to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut

I flew out from Fargo early in the morning on Wednesday, December 8 after months of preparation. A few weeks before leaving, I had a sendoff party which was extra special because it gave me the opportunity to share a piece of the experience with a lot of my friends and family who didn’t ultimately get to go to Connecticut where the 100 Year Anniversary Competition of Miss America was being held. Everyone was so supportive which helped me get into a healthy headspace prior to leaving to compete. It was amazing.

And in general, that support is what has been most amazing about this journey which I started when I was a freshman at Concordia College in 2015.

On the plane, I was accompanied by Miss South Dakota and Miss Minnesota (between us we had about 15 suitcases).

Day 1

100th Miss America Class

The first night was orientation. I was able to meet all of my sisters (I can now say that I have a friend in every single state) and started to form some really meaningful relationships, friendships which I hope to take with me throughout the rest of my life.

Day 2 and Day 3

First day of rehearsals
The first day of rehearsals.

Thursday and Friday were all about rehearsals, because, like I said, we wanted to put on the best show possible.

Day 4

Day 4 was my private interview day. The private interview serves as the judges’ first introduction to you and is when they first have the opportunity to see and talk with you. The interview only lasts 10 minutes, but I believe those fast minutes are the most vital part of the competition because it’s when the judges ultimately formulate their opinion of you.

In the interview, the judges asked me about my plans if I were to become Miss America and about my work in North Dakota. They also asked me fun questions about myself such as ‘what an ideal day would look like for me.’

My main goal heading into the interview room was to focus positive energy (and perhaps some Star Wars vibes) and be 100% authentically me. For a fast ten minutes, I shared with a panel why I believe our nation needs a Miss America who is approachable, relatable, and real, and a figure who will connect people in a time when we need connection more than ever before.

Day 5

Talent Performance The Habanera from Carmen Prelims
Reyna singing “The Habanera” from the Opera Carmen.

Day 5 consisted of rehearsals before the evening. The evening was the first night of the competition. During prelims, I performed my talent, which was a 90-second cut of “The Habanera” from the Opera Carmen. I first sang the piece in 2016 for a voice jury at Concordia College and have been crafting it ever since.

Day 6

Social Impact Pitch Prelims

Day 6 was the second night of prelims. There, I gave my social impact pitch titled, “The Influencer Era: Impact Beyond The Screen.” This component of the competition is especially important to me as this is what Miss America is truly about, making an impact. My social impact initiative centers around connecting with people face-to-face and the power of those interactions.

On Stage Question Prelims
Reyna answering on onstage question.

During this evening of competition, I also had the opportunity to answer an onstage question.

Day 7 and Day 8

On Day 7 and Day 8, we had the opportunity to move to the Mohegan Sun Arena where the final night of competition would be held. We spent these days in rehearsals and hanging out with one another, which, the unstructured time gave us a great chance to bond and create lasting memories!

Day 9

Day 9 was the final night of the Miss America 100 Year Anniversary Competition, which was broadcast on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. It was a great day that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I didn’t have expectations. I didn’t want to be disappointed if things turned out differently from what I was hoping. So instead, my goal was to be present and enjoy the experience.

Ultimately, I didn’t make finals which meant that I was done early on in the final night of competition. Although it was slightly disappointing, I felt mainly grateful for the opportunity to introduce myself to thousands–if not millions of people– as a representative of a state that I have such pride and love for. It was undoubtedly one of the coolest experiences of my life.

After the show, I was finally able to see my village of family and friends, which was the icing on the cake of an incredible day.

Overall, I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent my home of North Dakota – a place that has shaped and molded me into the woman I am today–at the 100 Year Anniversary of Miss America. It is an experience that I will never forget and I am proud to have played my part in adding to a century’s worth of phenomenal women who have and will continue to positively change the world.

Written by Reyna Bergstrom

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