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Oregon City resident's crowning achievement

Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson heads to Miss America pageant -


As she prepares to head out to Atlantic City, N.J., for the Miss America 2015 Pageant, Oregon City resident Rebecca Anderson is looking forward to the competition aspect and meeting the other contestants.

Anderson, 23, was named Miss Oregon in Seaside on June 28, and left for the national pageant on Aug. 31; Miss America airs on ABC at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14.

Photo Credit: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ELLEN SPITALERI - Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson, paid for her Portland State University education with winnings from pageant scholarships. She vies to be Miss America, which airs Sept. 14 on KATU.While she spends two weeks rehearsing, attending charitable events and doing video shoots, she encourages folks back home to visit missamerica.org/vote and vote for her to become the America’s Choice contestant in the pageant; voting closes on Sept. 11.

Anderson added that she would love to make the top 15, so viewers can see Oregon represented nationally.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and opportunity, and I want to truly make the state of Oregon proud,” Anderson said.

Although many associate the Miss America pageant with beauty, Anderson noted that talent and the interview process are the highest-scored categories.

Photo Credit: COURTESY OF ON BROADWAY PHOTOGRAPHY - Miss America judging doesn't have much to do with beauty, says Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson, who adds we joke that its our looks that get us in the door.“I have been studying current events and doing roundtable discussions, as well as rehearsing my talent,” she said. She will sing “Let It Go,” from the “Frozen” soundtrack for her talent presentation.

Calling the interview process “the best training for any career,” Anderson further noted that she has had to use her college education and her opinions to answer questions during preliminary rounds at Miss Oregon pageants in the past.

Anderson graduated from Portland State University in 2013 with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and a minor in sustainability. She has been able to pay for her entire college education, using more than $17,000 in scholarship money she has won from competing in pageants.

Anderson plans to go on to graduate school and get a second bachelor's degree in atmospheric science, but “being Miss Oregon is a full-time job, and it is my duty to be the face of the state, so I must take a year off from school. While it is challenging, I have had the most magical time growing and seeing this state,” she said.

Platform, appearances

All contestants pick a platform, revolving around an issue they are passionate about, and Anderson’s is the Red Cross. She made a guest appearance, joining the firefighters of Station 22, at the Cody Hermeling Red Cross Blood Drive on Aug. 30 at Yur’s Bar & Grill in Northwest Portland. Hermeling was in a near-fatal car accident in 2010, and 187 pints of blood saved his life.

Anderson said the first event she attended as Miss Oregon was on July 1 at the grand opening of the USO at the Portland Airport.

“We haven't had a USO in Portland for over 40 years, so to be in the presence of such an important event was so inspiring. I was asked to perform the national anthem, with the color guard, members from every branch of the military, and Sen. Ron Wyden in attendance. I will always remember being a part of such a momentous event,” Anderson said.

Throughout her year as Miss Oregon, Anderson also will make appearances at schools around the state, promoting the Red Cross and STEM education, both of which are “incredibly important” to her.

Pageant program

In answering questions about the relevance of pageants in today’s world, Anderson said the Miss Oregon program has changed her life, causing her to gain confidence in herself and figure out who she is and how she fits into the world.

“It wasn't until I started pageants when I was 19 that I started to gain confidence in myself. I realized that what people say about me doesn't matter, that I am powerful on my own,” she said.

“At the end of the day, it is a scholarship program, and I will be able to put myself through school because of it,” Anderson said, adding, “I wouldn't be where I am today without this organization.”

Does the beauty aspect of the pageant send the wrong message to young women?

“Every day we are judged for our looks. In our judging process, there is one category that has anything mentioned about beauty and it is one of the lowest scores on the spectrum,” Anderson said.

She added, “Seldom is it the most beautiful girl or the skinniest who wins. We joke that it's our looks that get us in the door,” but the winner is “the woman who can articulate her passions, goals and inspirations and is driven for change.”

Watch the pageant

Rebecca Anderson, Miss Oregon 2014, will compete in the Miss America pageant at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, on ABC.

Vote for her to be the America’s Choice finalist by visiting missamerica.org/vote or on Facebook at facebook.com/missamerica. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sept. 11.



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