Meet All Of the 2018 Miss America Contestants Before Sunday’s Competition

Get to know the 51 unique and inspirational ladies competing for the 2018 crown!

On Sunday, September 10, 2017 a brand new Miss America will officially be crowned! Live from Atlantic City, New Jersey, 51 contestants will compete to receive the honor of being named Miss America 2018. Ahead of the show, we thought you would like to get to know each of the ladies a little bit better, so we are rounding up some of the fun facts, personal and inspiring life stories, and charitable platforms that each contestant has spoken about.

 Miss Alabama (Jessica Procter)

Jessica’s dream is to sing a duet with Tori Kelly. She can also kick a 20-yard field goal.

Miss Alaska (Angelina Klapperich)

Angelina lost her friend to suicide and realized that every person is fighting a personal battle. This significant event helped her choose her platform, “Be Compassionate! EVERY Person Fights a Personal Battle.”

A fun fact about Angelina: she has caught an Alaskan halibut that was over 130 pounds.

Miss Arizona (MaddieRose Holler)

MaddieRose’s ambition is to become a nationally syndicated broadcaster for live news.

Miss Arkansas (Maggie Benton)

Maggie’s local Diamond State princess, Asher, has been battling cancer for half of her life and it gave her perspective on life. Asher has more joy than anyone Maggie’s ever met and it inspires her.

Miss California (Jillian Smith)

Jillian is 1 of 7 granddaughters who have all competed in a Miss America affiliated pageant. Her secret wish/dream is to be serenaded by Wayne Brady.

Miss Colorado (Meredith Winnefeld)

Meredith has been legally blind in one eye since birth. Her vision challenges were detected in elementary school and could have been corrected if detected earlier. This is why she is passionate about her platform of early childhood vision care.

Fun fact about Meredith: she performed at Super Bowl XLIX as a baton twirler.

Miss Connecticut (Eliza Kanner)

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Living my very best life ✨

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When she was 12 months old, Eliza had reoccurring viruses and 106-degree fevers. She was diagnosed with Cyclic Neutropenia. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center provided Eliza with the guidance to live a childhood free of sickness. Today, Eliza participates in the HuskyTHON, a year-long fundraiser at the University of Connecticut for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This year, Eliza serves as Co-Executive Director and with her team is on the road to raising $1,000,000 for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Fun Fact about Eliza – she has always dreamed of becoming a Rockette.

Miss Delaware (Chelsea Bruce)

Chelsea would like to have a television show where she can talk about current events and politics, similar to the Rachel Maddow Show or Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly.

Miss District of Columbia (Briana Kinsey)

Briana would like to be a castaway on “Survivor” and last more than one day.

Miss Florida (Sara Zeng) 

Sara would like to play keyboard for a world-famous artist like Beyoncé. Sara was also selected as a fashion model for American Eagle Outfitters and her picture circulated in their stores worldwide.

Miss Georgia (Alyssa Beasley)

Alyssa choreographed her first group dance at age 14 and has been awarded multiple Choreography Awards for dances she has choreographed for herself and others.

Miss Hawaii (Kathryn Teruya)

At the age of 19, Kathryn assisted in extracting a permanent front tooth. The patient was her age. This was a significant moment in Kathryn’s life because her biggest ambition is to follow her father’s footsteps and become a dentist. Kathryn has plans to attend dental school and one day would like to open a dental and medical clinic that has a designated area for arts and performance.

Miss Idaho (Taylor Lance)

Taylor’s mom lives overseas helping women in foreign countries open successful businesses. She sold everything and moved so that she could share her time and talent with those in need.

Miss Illinois (Abby Foster)

At the age of 9, Abby was diagnosed with a disease that affected the nervous system and made it impossible for her to dance or walk normally for over a year.

Miss Indiana (Haley Begay)

As a pre-teen Haley was overweight and hospitalized for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She has also experienced sexual assault.

Miss Iowa (Chelsea Dubczak)

Chelsea would like to be a competitor on MTV’s “The Challenge.”

Her greatest accomplishment is doing a 220 lbs. barbell squat. Chelsea also earned her Certificate of Personal Training while maintaining 4 jobs – she worked as a job coach for people with intellectual disabilities, a vocal instructor for private lessons, a teaching artist for a local non- profit and a hostess at a 5-star restaurant.

Miss Kansas (Krystian Fish)

Krystian has a huge family: there are 76 members on her dad’s side alone.

Miss Kentucky (Molly Matney)

Molly believes the greatest invention in world history is the airplane and just had her first flight to Orlando for the Miss America Orientation.

Fun fact about Molly – she has never had Starbucks and would also like to become a recipe taste tester for the Food Network.

Miss Louisiana (Laryssa Bonacquisti)

Laryssa was the opening act for America’s Got Talent Winner, Terry Factor. Laryssa would also like to chase a tornado one day.

Miss Maine (Katie Elliott)

Katie can do a mean beatbox and would like to sing the National Anthem at a Boston Red Sox game.

Miss Maryland (Kathleen Masek)

Kathleen was selected as a finalist for an entrepreneur pitch contest and would like to have her own DIY empire.

Miss Massachusetts (Jillian Zucco)

HIllian was singing in a nursing home when an elderly man came out of a long-term mute catatonic state and has been singing the classic tune with her and his wife.

Fun fact about Jillian – she was in a 4 person all-girl pop band who toured the Eastern Seaboard.

Miss Michigan (Heather Kendrick)

Heather made it to Hollywood on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent with Detroit’s electro-pop violin band, NUCLASSICA. Simon Cowell told Heather she was talented.

Miss Minnesota (Brianna Drevlow)

With her family, Brianna started the organization that partners with the Arthritis Foundation “Brenna’s Brigade” for her nine-year-old sister who was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis five years ago.

Miss Mississippi (Anne Buys)

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I am living my dream✨✨⭐️😍

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Anne can do a 12-minute plank.

Miss Missouri (Jennifer Davis)

Jennifer has long arms and the wing span of an NBA player at 72 inches.

She is also a published author of a children’s book titled, “Diversity Matters.”

Miss Montana (Maddie Murray)

Maddie endured several sports injuries that led her to continuously go from doctor to doctor seeking a diagnosis, however, finally finding a surgeon who was willing to commit to exploratory surgery and solve her tedious injury.

Miss Nebraska (Allison Tietjen)

Allison lived in Benin, West Africa for a month.

Miss Nevada (Andrea Martinez)

Before winning the title of Miss Nevada, Andrea was in the top 15% of her Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recruitment class, and is now partnering with them to promote her platform P.A.C.T. (Police and Communities Together).

Miss New Hampshire (Lauren Percy)

Lauren has completely planned out her path to the US Presidency for 2044 and would also love to be on “The View.”

Miss New Jersey (Kaitlyn Schoeffel)

Kaitlyn won the showcase showdown on “The Price Is Right.”

Miss New Mexico (Taylor Rey)

Taylor Performed the song “My Love Letter to Broadway” on Broadway with Kristin Chenoweth. She would also love to be a voice actor for cartoons. Taylor loves the idea of creating a character entirely with your voice and watching it come to life with animation.

Miss New York (Gabrielle Walter)

Within a span of 3 months, Gabrielle graduated from Canisius College, traveled abroad on an immersion trip to El Salvador and began law school. She would also like to argue a high-profile case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Miss North Carolina (Victoria Huggins)

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✨Best interview of my LIFE✨ Thank you to my VILLAGE for covering me in prayer and positive well wishes all day long. Your love was certainly felt and deeply appreciated. You all are the wind beneath my wings. 💕 The judges met the real Victoria and all that she stands for. I am so happy! @shopfoxylady, you know how to dress a lady for interview! Thank you for being such a fantastic #missncsponsor and for perfectly capturing my #style in this Gracia blouse and pencil skirt. I cried when I tried this on two months ago because I KNEW this was my #missamerica interview outfit. Also, shout out to my amazing friends @mjbraxton3 and Jeff Phillips for so generously sponsoring the amazing shoes on my feet 💕👠 Still in shock that I own a pair of @christianlouboutins_ 😱I love and appreciate all of my sponsors who help me look my best! #missnc #teamvictoria #vforvictory #perseverance #victoriaisvictorious #theresheis #lovemysponsors #missamericainterview #interview

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Victoria has visited nursing homes since the age of 5, singing to patients and developing relationships with them. When visiting a nursing home in her hometown of Robeson County, North Carolina, she started singing the song “At Last.” In the room there was an Alzheimer’s patient who has not been able to remember her husband for the last 6 months and when she heard Victoria sing “At Last” the patient reached over into the wheelchair beside her and said to her husband, “honey, that’s our song.” That moment changed Victoria’s life forever and that’s when she knew she wanted to advocate for Alzheimer’s families. She now advocates for music therapy to be incorporated into Alzheimer’s facilities.

Miss North Dakota (Cara Mund)

Cara would like to become the first elected female governor of North Dakota.

Fun fact about Cara – she has over 90 pairs of earrings, but has never had her ears pierced.

Miss Ohio (Sarah Clapper)

Sarah was forced to reinvent herself and identify her personal value when she was no longer able to be a competitive gymnast due to spinal injuries. It was during that time period that she learned that her true value lies in her ability to impact others through sharing her personal experiences.

Miss Oklahoma (Triana Browne)

When she started track, she was barely able to stay on the team. Now, Triana has gone on to score at the Big 12 Track and Field Championship during her last season and was instructed to go out for the USA Track and Field for Tokyo 2020.

Miss Oregon (Harley Emery)

Harley would like to become a pilot and own a single-engine plane.

Miss Pennsylvania (Katie Schreckengast)

Katie Would love to talk about her adoption story on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Miss Rhode Island (Nicolette Peloquin)

Nicolette has a scar on her neck where she had to get lymph nodes removed. She had an emergency surgery two years ago due to a scare with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She donated 360 million stem cells to a 60-year-old stranger in another country.

Miss South Carolina (Suzi Roberts)

Moved away from home at 12 years old to train with prestigious ballet companies and was the America representative at several international ballet companies. In college, she traded in pointe shoes for pom poms, dancing on her college dance team and then as an NFL cheerleader.

Miss South Dakota (Miranda Mack)

Last year, Miranda designed and taught a music lesson to a class of preschoolers for the first time. There was a moment when she saw the musical concept visibly “click” in their minds and she knew teaching was a true passion.

Miss Tennessee (Caty Davis)

Caty’s father was addicted to alcohol and opioid drugs. Her parents divorced when she was 6 and her sister was 4 and started over. Her father committed suicide by hanging himself in the garage three years ago after going through rehab four times. Five years ago, half-brother Andrew who was also addicted to opioids and heroin committed suicide when he was only 23. His mom is still battling with addiction today. Never knew her grandfather, he was an alcoholic who died in a drunk driving accident. Her Uncle Mike was also an alcoholic before he passed away.

Miss Texas (Margana Wood)

Fun fact about Margana – her name is a combination of her grandmothers’ names: Martha + Gayna = Margana. Gayna was also a blend of her parents’ names: Gaynes and Syvenna.

Miss Utah (JessiKate Riley)

After her junior year in high school, JessiKate was offered a spot in the Brigham Young University’s School of Music. At 13 years old, she developed an anxiety disorder called Trichotillomania, which caused her to lose sight of who she was. With the help of family and friends, she learned that in order to overcome challenges, she needed to change her focus and realize her value.

Miss Vermont (Erin Connor)

Erin completed her cross-country solo flight at 17 years old in a single engine 152-Cessna airplane. She became a certified private pilot at 16 years old-first person in her class to get her license and the only female.

Miss Virginia (Cecili Weber)

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Cecili’s family owned and operated the oldest business in her hometown. Weber’s Florist has been in her family for over 100 years!

Miss Washington (Nicole Renard)

Connection to platform: being bullied in dance and witnessing her sister struggle with an eating disorder lead her to have extremely low self-esteem, negative body image and an unhealthy lifestyle, had a huge transformation and her mind was renewed when she lived in New Zealand for 6 months. She has also been to Disneyland 152 times in the last 4 years.

Miss West Virginia (Tamia Hardy)

Tamia is the first black Miss West Virginia.

Miss Wisconsin (McKenna Collins)

At 16, McKenna founded a small business and singed a contract as a professional ballet dancer. During college, McKenna founded a dance outreach program and received a scholarship and grant from her university to work across the state. She also served a congressional internship for U.S. House Speaker, Paul Ryan. After graduating college, she would like to obtain a law degree and work as a congressional policy advisor in Washington, D.C. Also, 14 generations ago her first cousin would have been John Adams.

Fun fact about McKenna – she would like to be an Olympian.

Miss Wyoming (Cheyenne Buyert)

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Cheyenne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2010. Cheyenne would also like to be a Radio City Rockette.

Make sure to watch the Miss America competition live this Sunday, September 10 starting at 9 PM ET/PT on ABC to see the girls in action and find out who takes home the crown!

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.