NATIONAL AMERICAN MISS celebrates sixteen sweet years of growing confidence and so much more
Sassy. Stylish. Sweet 16! National American Miss celebrated its Sweet Sixteen this year at the annual national pageant held in Anaheim, California. Maintaining a standard of excellence, NAM had a record-breaking year. Delegates and their families were dazzled by the reveal of NAM’s new look, exciting new competitions, and more than $500,000 in cash, scholarships, prizes, and awards. The 2018 NAM National Pageant was definitely one for the books with three sleek runway stages featuring LED backdrops, a Sweet 16 themed food truck Party on the Plaza, eleven thrilling final shows, a Ford Mustang giveaway, and so much more.
The national finalists’ week of celebrations kicked off with the official Arrival Ceremony where the friendly NAM staff and national royalty greeted them. After check-in, the girls attended the Neon Welcome Party where girls danced the night away, connected with old friends, and made new ones.
A crowd favorite was NAM’s Sweet Sixteen Birthday Bash! Hosted on the two-block long outdoor plaza of the Anaheim Convention Center, the party was filled with the electric beats of DJ Alan B and featured special guest appearances by pop stars and NAM national queen alumnae, Tori K and Madisen Hill. Fifty towering lit palm trees lined the plaza and provided the perfect ambiance for this festive event held exclusively for the pageant contestants and their families. Over 2,000 guests sampled the creative stylings of delicious food trucks and fun for all ages, brimming with festive activities, including bounce-houses, games, dancing, and the high energy DJ. More than twenty-five former NAM national queens were welcomed home to NAM Nationals from across the country to share in the fun with the new delegates and their families.
The magical moments continued as the girls headed to the happiest place on earth! The national finalists met Mickey and all of his friends as they enjoyed all that Disneyland has to offer, with a VIP photo shoot in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle making the day extra special.
And of course, a exciting trip to Disneyland would not be complete without the magical holiday parade and fireworks. From Rodeo Drive to The Santa Monica Pier, the exclusive National American Miss Hollywood
Tour also showed NAM families and friends the world-famous southern California hot spots.
The “Live” car drawing is a beloved NAM Nationals tradition, as one national finalist walks away with a brand new Ford Mustang Convertible! This upbeat live drawing aired on Ustream as all of the girls and families gathered into the famous platinum ballroom to see who the lucky winner would be. This year, Hannah Anastasi from Texas took home the Mustang. The most energetic moment of the evening was watching her dad’s face as they received the keys to a brand new Mustang!
This year a brand new award arrived to the NAM national stage. The national delegates had the opportunity to take part in “The Music Artist of The YearSM contest. Competitors sang demos for Grammy-winning producer Josh Monroy. This year’s two talented winners were Allison Marx and Natalie Gleaton. They were awarded a fabulous prize package, which includes a trip for two to Hollywood to record with Studio 1 ZERO. These amazing vocalists had the time of their lives as they wowed the audience with their skills on the NAM stage.
On Thanksgiving Day, the contestants and families attended the famed black and white banquet. This event provides the contestants and their families an opportunity to count their blessings over a traditional Thanksgiving feast. The national finalists gathered into the ballroom for a time of celebration and connection. While they dined on turkey and pumpkin pie, published author and Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton Wolfe took to the microphone and encouraged the girls to walk with purpose and to stay true to themselves. She also gifted each of the national queens a copy of her brand new book, The Sparkle Effect.
Before the crowning of the new national queens, the national finalists had the chance to take home a national title in one of the many optional contests, including Talent, Photogenic, Casual Wear ModelingSM, SpokesmodelSM, Actress, Top Model SearchSM, Academic Achievement, Heart of ServiceSM, Runway Model SearchSM, and many more. The national finalists took part in the annual Red Carpet Award Ceremony, a star-studded event with all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. The red carpet rolled out as the top competitors in each age division competed for the top prizes.
NAM is always looking for ways to reward the hard work of contestants, so new prize packages were added to the contests this year. The Actress contest winners for each division now receive a free cruise where they will meet with the top agents and casting directors in the business. In addition to the $800 cash scholarship, each of the Talent winners received a session with Theatrical Artist Prep of New Jersey to perfect their onstage performance skills. One of the highest honors of the night was the Golden Achievement in Community Service Award. This prestigious honor is awarded to six true-life servants who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the lives of others.
The stylish Runway Model SearchSM competition celebrated its third year at NAM Nationals with new sponsorship endorsements. Each of the contestants participated in a training camp where they learned about the high-fashion modeling industry, experienced a real-world modeling go-see with industry experts, and strutted down the runway in a fashion-forward and trendy outfit. The 2018 winners are Mayalisa Cousins and Mariana Lynn Togado. They will be featured in a national digital ad campaign and have exclusive modeling opportunities. The winner of the Runway Model SearchSM competition in each age division received a stunning signature rhinestone stiletto heel trophy fashioned exclusively for NAM.
National American Miss demonstrated, yet again, why they are a recognized leader in pageantry. The three jaw-dropping, glossy, all-white, Hollywood-designed stages with the addition of giant high resolution LED screens provided the perfect backdrop for the array of laser lighting and special effects. Awarding more than one million dollars in cash, scholarships, and prizes annually nationwide, NAM has ramped up its prize package to the next level.
A host of new national prize sponsors were highlighted all week long, both on and off the stage. One of the featured national prize sponsors personally styled the dazzling rose gold production number dress that the national delegates wore to open each final show.
The national gown sponsor designer returned, providing appearance gowns and cocktail dresses to each of the new queens. The list of prestigious industry renowned sponsors reads like a who’s-who of the pageant industry. With new national sponsors added this year, the NAM sponsors provide one of the most valued prize packages in the glamour lifestyle industry and it continues to grow with each and every year. And let’s not forget the aforementioned Ford Mustang.
With so many ways to win at NAM, its popularity is not surprising. At the NAM National Pageant, there are two separate sets of queen titles for which the national delegates compete, the first of which features the National American Miss title. This title is for the girls who captured the state queen title at their state competition. The second set compete for the National All-American Miss title. All who competed at their state competition and finished in the queen’s court or placed in an optional contest at their state competition are eligible to compete for this title. The National All-American Miss contestants represent their home city or county.
As always, the NAM National Pageant delivered the largest and most diverse judge panels in pageantry, exceeding fifty total judges across the optional contests and required competitions. The judge panels showcased casting agents, producers, bloggers, and celebrities such as Miss America 2018 Cara Mund, Miss USA 2017 Kara McCullough, Mrs. America 2018 Mekayla Fawn, and author and Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton Wolfe.
National American Miss just keeps getting better and better. After sixteen years of excellence and growth, there truly is no stopping this powerhouse of pageantry. We can’t wait to see what National American Miss brings to the table next year. Stay tuned for 2019!