Over the weekend, Maddy Simon, River Falls High School junior and current River Falls Royal Ambassador, attended the Miss Wisconsin Teen USA pageant. Though she didn’t come home with the crown, she represented River Falls with confidence and enthusiasm.
Simon arrived on Friday in Wisconsin Dells, where the pageant was held, to check into her hotel, along with her mom and sister. On Saturday, May 22, Simon participated in early registration where she began to meet some of the other contestants. Simon was then briefed about the weekend with the 18 other teen contestants, followed by a group rehearsal. It was also on Saturday that the young women participated in judged interviews. In this short, two minute time slot, Simon was asked many questions by the judges, one one of which was “what is your favorite place in the world?” Simon’s response - River Falls.
Other questions reflected on passions, hobbies and accomplishments. Over quarantine, Simon started a small business making masks. More than half of her proceeds went to Feed My Starving Children, a Christian non-profit that packages and distributes food to people in developing nations.
“Since people are getting vaccinated, I've decided to slow down the business and focus on school, like AP classes and everything,” said Simon. “[The pageant] actually encouraged me to go further with my passion for volunteering… I'm always looking for more ways to give back to my community, like I volunteer at our River Falls Food Pantry and I'll be starting up that again this summer.”
On the second day of the competition, all of the competitors gathered in front of an audience and participated in three categories: introductions, activewear (swimwear for the Miss pageant) and evening gown. Only the latter two are scored by the judges, in addition to the previous day's interview.
“I'm extremely humbled and I learned a lot more about myself,” said Simon. “I gained so much confidence because it takes a lot of confidence and skill to walk across the stage in heels that are very high. And just rocking it all by yourself.”
Though Simon is not settled on a path after high school, her passion for design, especially formal wear, has shown through her participation in pageants. One year she even made a prom dress. “I got to become closer with my grandma and also pursue my career in design by making it,” she said.
Shreya Gundelly of Mequon won the Miss Wisconsin Teen USA 2021 crown along with Samantha Catherine Keaton of Milwaukee who was crowned Miss Wisconsin USA 2021.