When I was 7 years old and the Miss America pageant was on TV, it was a family night to watch. Let’s face it all those women are gorgeous and talented. My friends and I took turns playing 3rd runner up, 2nd runner up, 1st runner up and then Miss America. One of us would do the teary eye walk, of course with the elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist, wave, as the other 3 three would sing ‘There she is Miss America.’
Not Teresa M Scanlan, Miss America 2011. When she was 7 she had other grander plans that included going to Harvard Law School, becoming president, and then appointing herself to the Supreme Court. She actually joked that she wasn’t there for all of us ladies at the One Box Ladies Luncheon, but to launch her presidential campaign. I believe that just may be true farther down this remarkable woman’s career.
Teresa Scanlan is the middle of seven children from Gering, Neb. She was homeschooled until her junior year where she attended Gering High School. After announcing her life plans at the age of 7, her father had the advice for her to start earning money in order to pay for the vast amount of education she was seeking.
She won the title of Miss Nebraska in 2010. In 2011, at 17 years of age, Teresa Scanlan was the first representative from Nebraska to win Miss America, and the youngest in 74 years. The scholarship money will pay for all of her undergraduate schooling and first year of law school. She feels that we should be grateful to be from Nebraska, especially a small town.
Scanlan stated that the culture of people that she was surrounded by made her what she is. Nebraska offered her an opportunity to work hard, provided an outstanding education, and established a strong work ethic.
“We are a product of the people we surround ourselves with.” She was grateful to her Mom for being such a good, strong role model that taught her everything she knows.
Off to a new chapter in her life. School in Virginia was put aside for a year in order to uphold her duties as Miss America.
She threw out some numbers to describe this year: 365 days, 17 years old, over 150,000 miles traveled, 36 states, 5 countries, 8 marriage proposals, 4 prongs on the crown (style, success, scholarship and service), and numerous pictures and autographs.
The life style took a toll. She suffered depression. She couldn’t pinpoint when or what, but lived two years with suicidal thinking and depressing thoughts. She had secluded herself in attempts to be independent, but in that time forgot all the fostering relationships she has at the core of her life.
Scanlan was quick to point out that even if you are famous, criticism still hurts. If you think a comment will hurt you, it will still hurt a politician, athlete, or anyone, even if they are at the top of their career. Society tries to teach the children that it is not nice to make fun of someone, but it wasn’t middle school children that were critical and tearing Scanlan apart. She was now surrounded by criticism, it bombarded her, impossible to ignore.
Finally in March of 2013 she talked to her parents. She beat it and is in a better place now. She stated that statistically if you ask someone who the positive role models in their lives are, 3 out of 5 of the answers will be teachers.
She reiterated that she was homeschooled until she was 16. She realizes now how important it is to keep relationships close.
Scanlan feels that in order to be successful you must be intentional when you set goals. Sometimes life happens along the way. Growing up striving to be president, she had to ask herself when faced with something “what would the president do?”
This led to good decisions, and on her quest to be president, she happened to win Miss America. She advised not to get too caught up in the looking back thinking that the best part of your life is over.
Studies have shown that 60+ year old women are happier than women in their twenties. “Believe it to achieve it.” A foundational lesson in her life was a goal in life to serve other people.
She has found a purpose for serving. She fell in love with orphans from Haiti. She and her sisters are in the process of starting a nonprofit organization- Hearts inside out, turning that passion into action. The organization will help the over 65,000 orphans in Port-au-Prince.
Just before closing with a heartfelt poem, Dash, about not forgetting to live, and a song that is inspirational to her, she shared a little secret.
A secret talent that Teresa possesses is the ability to make herself look pregnant. You almost have to see her small frame pop out a little baby belly in order to believe it!
She intended to in the middle of the Miss America Pageant’s bathing suit contest to reveal this talent. She demonstrated a turn that when she was first facing the audience she was the slim twenty year old, and then did a model like turn where she mysteriously had a baby belly.
I do not think this is the last we will see of this young lady. She is a fabulous speaker had us laughing and I think I may have seen a couple of tears. I walked out of the luncheon wanting to be a better person, especially a better mom.
Intentional goal setting and the fact that you are a product of your surroundings are 2 wonderful points that I will try to incorporate into my life.
You might just see Teresa Scanlan for President in 2028.