A senior at the University of Iowa is spending this week away from the classroom to compete in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Aly Olson is the reigning Miss Iowa.
“It’s kind of crazy to already be at this goal I’ve been dreaming about because I do want to be Miss America and I believe that I can be the first Iowan to be Miss America,” Olson said. “To be at this point in my life when I’m only 21 years old is extremely exciting.”
An Iowan has never won the Miss America Pageant, although Catherine Ann Lemkau of Muscatine finished as 1st-runner-up in 1993.
Joanne MacDonald of Ames also finish one spot away from the crown in 1958. Olson, a 2011 Des Moines Lincoln graduate, will find out on Sunday if she has a shot at being crowned Miss America for 2015. “At this point, I’m not nervous, I’m just so excited,” Olson said.
This week, Olson has been taking part in preliminary competitions ranging from swimsuits, evening gowns, a talent contest, and interviews.
The final night of the Miss America Pageant will be broadcast live on Sunday at 7 p.m. (CST) on ABC-TV. “On Sunday night, they cut (the field) down from 53 to 15 at the very beginning of the broadcast and just those 15 women will move on to compete in areas of competition,” Olson said.
Iowans can help Olson reach the round of 15. The Miss America Organization gives the public the chance to vote for a finalist online at www.missamerica.org/vote.
The public voting ends tonight (Thursday) at 10 p.m. (CST). Olson is pursuing a bachelor of music in vocal performance at the University of Iowa, along with certificates in music education and performing arts entrepreneurship.
Photos courtesy of the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program