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THE PAGEANTRY INTERVIEW teresascanlan Scanning the Horizon After a year of unparalleled service and philanthropic efforts, Miss America Teresa Scanlan is ready to hand off her title and embrace the path before her eginning with the earliest years of the Miss America Pageant, youth was something embraced in the glorification and grace of the crown. Seven of the first 11 titleholders were 16 and 17, and the 11th woman to be crowned Miss America—New Jersey’s Bette Cooper— was the last 17-year old to achieve the honor in 1937. Perhaps it’s just a coinci- dence, or maybe it’s simply part of the grand tradition of honoring the past, but Cooper’s enduring footnote came to an end on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the Miss America competition. Cooper, who is also the oldest living Miss America, was one of the millions of people who watched as 17-year old Teresa Scanlan be- came the first woman from Nebraska to win the prestigious title. One might think that the reason no 17-year old had won the Miss America crown in 73 years was because all of the new fame, celebrity and daily responsibili- ties that come with the reign are too much for a teenager to handle. But Teresa simply laughs at that notion. Not only could she handle everything that came with her new title, but like the many women crowned before her, she took the title and fame to a new level, reaching out to not only the people who admire and aspire to gain her level of ability and grace, but also to the millions of people with eating disorders, who she strives to protect and enable every day through her personal platform. And like those Miss Americas before her, Teresa’s efforts are far from over. B 114 PAGEANTRY Pageantry magazine: A lot has hap- pened this past year following your historic victory and capturing the Miss America crown. What do you remember most about that night? Teresa Scanlan: Oh my goodness. It seems like it was just yesterday, but really it was so long ago. I think more than every- thing was, of course, all of the emotions, the overwhelming feelings, but also the tremendous peace that kind of lasts throughout the entire night starting at the beginning of the day. Really, I had been hoping to get to that place and working on it throughout the past several months and then leading up through the week just to be at that calm peaceful place, that I could have a wonderful time and enjoy it. PM: A lot of people forget about your maturity level. You were only 17 when you captured the crown. TS: Right. It is something that has con- tinued to come up this year, really. Now, towards the end of the year, it’s something that more and more people can let go and aren’t bringing it up as much, so hopefully that’s a good sign. PM: How does someone of that age handle the daily demands of Miss America? TS: I think it’s about the preparation and making sure that’s how you lived your everyday life leading up to it. It could be suddenly overwhelming if you’re chang- ing the way you act or your daily life and that type of thing. If you’ve practiced fo- cusing on the decisions that you’re mak- ing, the things you are doing, always try- ing to do what’s best, working hard each day, and giving 110 percent, then nothing really changes. I would say the most important thing is to remember what’s behind you and what’s in front of you. What I mean is the moti- vation, the factor that’s continuing to push you forward, that’s what’s behind you. That’s your big picture, your overall pur- pose or mission in life. What’s in front of you are the goals you set for yourself and so no matter what, each milestone that you’ve reached, it’s important to set new goals so that you’re always looking forward to something new, that you’re always striving towards that. As long as you always keep your focus on what’s behind you pushing you forward and what’s in front of you that you’re reaching towards, that will really keep you going through anything. PM: What has your year as Miss Amer- ica taught you about yourself? TS: I think it shows you more than any- thing what you’re capable of that you’ve never realized before. It’s very interesting sometimes that you never push yourself to