Miss Alaska 2023, Hannah Utic, traveled to Nome at the end of October (25) to engage with the community and to share her journey of becoming Miss Alaska. It was her first time visiting a community off the road system.
Miss Alaska is the state preliminary to Miss America. Utic said Miss America and Miss USA are often confused with each other. She began her speech by explaining the differences between the two competitions.
“So essentially, Miss America as a whole is a woman scholarship organization. It’s frequently confused with Miss USA, which is the stereotypical beauty pageant.”
The Miss America Organization is the world’s largest scholarship program for women. Last year, Anchorage resident Emma Broyels became the first Alaskan to win the Miss America pageant and received over $100 thousand in scholarships.
Utic won Miss Girdwood 2022 and competed in the 2022 Miss Alaska pageant. She said she received “quite a bit” of scholarship money although she didn’t win.
“You don’t even have to win the crown and sash to win a lot of scholarship money and other really cool things.”
Utic said she never thought she would be involved in pageants or win Miss Alaska. She said she became involved in the organization last year through her friend Becky Makar, who was crowned Miss Alaska in 1993.
Utic and Makar were crowned exactly 30 years apart from each other, which Utic described as a “very special moment.”
To compete for the Miss Alaska title, Utic said you have to compete for a local title first. She said right now, most of the competitors are from Southcentral Alaska but she said she hopes to see that change.
“I think it’s really important that we have representation from all the different areas of our state and Miss Alaska next year.”
Utic said each competitor is required to undergo an interview, perform a talent and have a “platform,” or a community service initiative. Her focus was on civic involvement with an emphasis in informed voting.
She said she became inspired after seeing that only 30% of registered voters in Anchorage participated in the last local election. She said she hopes to educate youth on the importance of voting and getting involved in local government issues.
“You know, one of my favorite quotes is “because we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we’ve been given so much. Therefore, I believe it’s our responsibility that we give much in return,” she said.
In an Instagram post following the visit, Utic wrote, “The welcome I received was so incredibly warm by everyone, especially the kiddos.”
The Miss America competition will take place in Orlando, Florida in January (6-14). If you are interested in getting a local event set up in the region, visit the Miss America website.
Photo at top: Miss Alaska 2023, Hannah Utic, joined Scotty Campbell on the morning show during her visit to Nome. Utic hopes to one day see a ‘Miss Nome’. (Scotty Campbell/KNOM)