by Gerald Bohulano, ABS-CBN News
PHOENIX, AZ — Maddie Rose Holler captured the Miss Arizona 2017 title last month. The 19-year-old beauty queen beat out 25 contestants for a spot to compete at Miss America.
“I freaked out. It was one of those moments where you’re like oh my gosh did this actually happen? And for some odd reason I don’t remember them saying, you’re the next miss Arizona. I just remember them saying take your first walk, and I was like ok.”
“When Maddie was a little girl she always watches the pageants. Miss America was one of them. And she said that she wants to be Miss America some day. She doesn’t know how she’s going to be Miss America,” said her mom, Gloria. “So now that when she wins… I cried and she cried, because it’s like her dream come true to be on the stage of Miss America.”
A Filipina-American hasn’t won the competition since 2001, and a Miss Arizona hasn’t made the top five since 2011. Holler is preparing to change that.
Holler is a student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and mass communication, which she juggles with preparations for the pageant competition.
“So for me that’s continuing to get swimsuit ready for Miss America. That’s working out every day, making healthy choices,” she said of her process. “I get to work a lot with my coaches, and work on a new song…. also too, you can never do enough interview prep.”
Holler is a first-generation college student who was able to attend college thanks to scholarships from the Miss America system. She wants to be remembered as a storyteller and a people person once her pageant career has passed.
“That is the biggest reason why I wanted to be a journalist, is because of connecting with different types of people in the community, and the story-telling aspect that truly is a journalist, is a storyteller,” she said.
The Miss America pageant will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey and will air on ABC on September 10.