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  • Writer's pictureAustin Douglas

Miss Washington Week 2023

What a joyous week!

Truth be told, this has been one of my favorite weeks of the year for a long time now. For those of you who may not know, the Miss Washington competition is a week filled with events, rehearsals, appearances, and then the final two nights consist of the preliminary competition and finals. It is, in all honesty, a long and grueling week. In my opinion, it bears some similarities to sorority rush week, but that is besides the point. Overall, it is one of the most unique and exciting opportunities there is.

More About the Week

Miss Washington recently found a new home. Since partnering with Experience Olympia, we were blessed to have a new venue for the competition right in the heart of our state capitol. This brought about incredible new service and appearance opportunities, such as an autograph signing at Capitol Mall, photoshoot at the Capitol Building, trip to the Olympia Farmer's Market, and a visit to the Olympia Children's Museum. I firmly believe getting to connect with the community in this way throughout the week not only made it more exciting for everyone involved, but shined a new light on our program.

After having competed now for a few years, both locally and statewide, in the teen and the miss competition, I have found it best to set goals for myself whenever entering any competition (I even wrote a bit about this in my last blog post). This year my primary, tangible goal was to focus on having fun and bonding with the other delegates. My other goal, which remains the same in nearly all competitions I enter, is just to grow and do better than I did the last time. I have never felt so at peace while competing as I did this season. And after sharing my passion for this program, finding a cure for childhood cancer, and my heart with the panelists I was honored to have reached my goal, been called into the top 5 and placed 2nd runner up.


While Miss America is a historic organization, having just celebrated it's 102nd birthday, it's no secret that there have been many changes throughout the past few years for the organization. Often, I am asked in interview or on appearances if the program is still relevant. I will be blunt and share that since I have been asked this so frequently, of course I have had to reflect and call the relevancy into question myself. After evaluating this for a few years, I believe I understand how and why it truly is relevant.

Having gone through the college and scholarship application processes, and now entering my second year studying for my undergraduate degree, I am finally able to put to use my scholarship dollars. In addition to this, I think we are seeing an increase in recruitment of sponsors for scholarships at several locals, especially in Washington state. This is a big deal because it reiterates, even at a local level, how Miss America is the largest provider of scholarship dollars for women in the United States.

However, I believe the benefits to be more than just scholastic. The networking opportunities can come in very handy. You have opportunities to meet and befriend many other ambitious young women, in addition to the directors and volunteer (not to mention all the different people you meet throughout the year of service in the community). Now that I have moved to another state, I am finding that it even serves as a way of getting established in a new place and brings new people into your life.

Finally, I think the diversity and talent of current and former titleholders all across the U.S. are perfect depictions of why this program is relevant. They are soldiers, teachers, lawyers, scientists, and so much more. And I think nobody speaks more to this relevance than our new Miss Washington, Vanessa Munson.

Miss Washington, Vanessa Munson

It is true that many of the girls competing could have been great Miss Washington's (and a few of them probably will be one day). But, God's timing is perfect and the panelists couldn't have picked a better representative for our class than Vanessa. She brought so much joy, peace, and positivity to everyone the whole week of competition. She is a student, soldier in the U.S. Army, and an advocate teaching generations of people to recognize their inherent worth and value. Vanessa, I am so proud of you and cannot wait too continue seeing all you accomplish with your year of service. I wish you nothing but the best!

To learn more about our incredible Miss Washington, Vanessa Munson, check out the link below for a great article from a local newspaper in Clark County, Washington.

To wrap up, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to compete at state again this past year. And I feel so blessed to have made memories with the amazing women competing as well as the wonderful people that make up the MWSO family. That's all for now, but I am excited to bring y'all along with me as I take the next steps in my journey through the Miss America Organization. So, stay tuned!

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