Emily Tinsman

A 22-year-old from Bettendorf is the new Miss Iowa. Emily Tinsman was crowned last weekend in Davenport in what was her third try at the competition.

Tinsman says she’s already learned a host of valuable “life skills” by taking part in the contests, including the honing of her interviewing abilities and gaining in self-confidence. “It’s not just a beauty competition, it’s not just the beauty, how you look,” Tinsman says. “We’re now moving towards what’s called Miss America 2.0. It’s about your talent, it’s about your intelligence, your poise and your confidence with yourself. Win or lose, we gain those skills.”

Tinsman says it was “surreal” to hear her name called as the winner at the Adler Theater last Saturday night. “It was really just this moment of, ‘Oh my gosh,'” she says. “My time in this program has just rounded itself out. It’s come full circle and now I get to inspire people throughout the state and girls who will be competing this next year.”

Emily Tinsman

In discussing her platform, Tinsman says her “social impact initiative” is advocating for artists — and for funding the arts in schools. “It helps build so many important skills, confidence, self-esteem, cultural awareness,” she says. “They believe in themselves and have a passion, but allowing them to have the same opportunities as you would with sports or academics, supporting a well-rounded education.”

Tinsman will represent Iowa in the Miss America Pageant, which is not yet scheduled. For now, she’s keeping a close eye on how she uses Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. “I have to be super-careful about social media, who’s following me, what I’m posting,” she says. “I’m really, essentially, supposed to be a role model for young women and I really need to prioritize how I’m being viewed in my actions.”

Tinsman graduated from Drake University in May. She was ready to start as an elementary music teacher in the Des Moines Public School System in the fall, but had to resign that post after winning the Miss Iowa crown.

(By Dave Vickers, KROS, Clinton)