THE PAGEANTRY INTERVIEW
Lifetime More than 100 million people were
introduced to Miss America’s Outstanding
Teen this year, and she’s only just begun
to touch the lives of so many more
hen a young woman is crowned Miss America’s
Outstanding Teen, the clock starts ticking. She
has 365 days to make countless ﬁrst impressions
and change millions of lives, all while ﬁnding
herself and determining her own future. But
with very little surprise, the women who have earned this title have
had very little trouble having it all during their reigns, and the
same can certainly be said of Elizabeth Fechtel.
As she awaits the day that she will pass on her title to another
amazing young lady, Elizabeth has only begun to slow down and
reﬂect on the many lives that she has touched over the past year,
between her visits to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and the
many other appearances she has made across the country. It hasn’t
truly hit her yet, but perhaps as she continues her ambitious desire
to help teenagers around the world realize their ability, she’ll real-
ize that she has been one amazing role model.
W Pageantry magazine: Let’s talk about Miss America’s
Outstanding Teen. What does the title mean to you?
Elizabeth Fetchel: This title is really such a big deal to me.
From the minute I won to now, as I’m ﬁnishing up my last months,
I have grown immensely, and I would not have otherwise. I’ve had
some extremely wonderful experiences, and I’ve met a lot of really
great people. I just ﬁnished writing the blurb that I’ll have in the
Miss America’s Outstanding Teen’s program book next year, and I
have so much to say about so many experiences.
PM: Has it been everything you’ve expected it to be, or has it
been even more?
EF: I didn’t really have any expectations. I hadn’t really thought
out what winning the title would be like. Each day comes and goes
and I just see what happens next. I’m truly thrilled with everything
that has happened.
PM: Why is a program like Miss America’s Outstanding Teen
so important in today’s society?
EF: I could go on forever about this. Our teens really need an in-
centive to achieve, do the best that they can do, and be well-round-
ed. Without a program like this, it’s easy to go with the ﬂow and
not really step out of your comfort zone. In countries around the
world, there are kids who are absolutely working so hard and doing
amazing things by the time they graduate high school. In Ameri-
ca, high school has become a time to play around and ﬁgure out
what you want to do in life and not actually get started. By partic-
ipating in this program, it really gives teenagers and girls a chance
to get started on what they want to do, have an impact on their
communities, and grow as individuals.
PM: And just like your big sister pageant, Miss America, MAO-
Teen is also scholarship-based, correct?
EF: Yes, and that’s also vital for me, going into college, knowing
that I have a scholarship to start me off wherever I want to go to
school. I had never even thought of out-of-state colleges, so it
opened my eyes to many new places and really gave me the chance
to decide what I wanted to do, as opposed to worrying about how
I would pay for it. Now I’m going into college worry-free and my
goal is to graduate debt-free.
PM: Tell us a little bit about your volunteer work with Children’s
EF: The Children’s Miracle Network is an outstanding program.
I’ve had a chance to visit many of the hospitals around the nation,
as well as be involved with many of their projects. They really come
in and help families who are in need, when they need money to pay
for the medical expenses for their kids, and the doctors at the hos-
pitals will treat the children no matter what the ﬁnancial circum-
stances. They don’t want any children suffering. By participating
and helping them out by raising funds and support, I’ve been able
to visit the headquarters in Utah, which was outstanding. They or-
ganized it so that on my birthday, the donations would be brought
to the Children’s Miracle Network.