by TaLeiza Calloway
When it comes to pageantry, St. Joseph native Bethany Beniek maintains a strategy.
Her approach is to go in expecting nothing but always hoping for victory. What’s most important is remaining herself throughout the process.
This can be hard, she says, as every interview is different. The 22-year-old was recently crowned (March 3) Miss West Metro 2012, rising above five other participants. The next step is a go at the Miss Minnesota title.
With the crown came a $500 scholarship and the chance to advance to the Miss Minnesota competition. It’s all familiar territory.
“I never go into a pageant expecting to win,” Beniek said, “but always hoping to win. I’m really excited for one more opportunity to compete for Miss Minnesota.
This will be Beniek’s fourth time vying for the Miss Minnesota crown. She started competing when she was a freshman in college. The age limit is 24.
The women are judged on swimwear, evening gown, talent, on-stage question and an interview.
The talent and the interview are major portions of the overall results. Her talent is singing.
Beniek explained there are open and closed pageants to qualify for advancement. The latter is open only to those who reside in the town where the competition is held.
What she likes most about participating in pageants is they provide opportunities not only to perform, but to give back to her community. Her personal platform is “Empowered to Serve,” an effort to help people find their special niche in the community through service.
Beniek is a Big Sister in the Big Brothers and Sisters program. She remembers how much she valued that relationship as a youngster so it was easy for her to befriend another little girl.
“I love community service,” she said.
Beniek is quick to tell you there is no one way to prepare for the Miss Minnesota competition. Preparation is not something that consumes her mind or her time because, in her opinion, it is something that is continuous.
“I live the life of Miss Minnesota every day,” she said. “It’s about being the best me I can possibly be, getting involved and being true to yourself.”
Kelly Beniek, Bethany’s mother, said it is amazing the stories the contestants share and the causes they stand for. Whether it’s supporting autism-awareness because of a relative who rose above it or cancer research, they are all making a difference.
“It’s so much more than a beauty pageant,” Kelly Beniek said.
Bethany, a 2011 graduate of the College of St. Benedict, has plans to attend dental school. After honing a love of all four seasons of the Loon State and a desire to be close to home, she’s hoping to enroll at the University of Minnesota.