Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan from Nebraska hasn’t been shy about her ambitions to go to college, law school, be a Supreme court judge, and then finally, president. After being home schooled from age six on, the NY-magazine described “extremely sensitive, shy, self-scrutinizing” youth quickly matured, as did her dreams of making it in politics.
Her best qualities have been noted as “her attractiveness, quotability, toughness, faith, and ambition,” the very aspects that set her apart from the other 2011 pageant contestants, according to NY Mag. On the exterior, they’re all quite similar. Scanlan must appear perfect at all time, wearing the same amount of Barbiedoll-like makeup whenever she’s out in public, as did the other contestants during the pageant. Yet in the competition that many deemed “boring,” Scanlan performances were simply not. In her piano performance in particular, she’s described as being aggressive and lively on the piano while attempting to convey a bit of her personality across the at-times sterile and dry program.
Even after the show, Scanlan continues to display her hard working and every pleasing personality behind the scenes. Describing Scanlan while writing thank-you notes and other backstage tasks, NY Mag expressed, “Watching her work in the limousine, I find it easy to imagine Scanlan marching from the womb with a firm handshake, unimpeachable hair, and talking points. "
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With the grand prize money from the Miss America pageant - it’s $50,000 - she plans on going to Patrick Henry College, a small, liberal-arts school in Virginia founded only in 2000. The school attracts mainly Christian, previously home-schooled teens (over 80% of the students); although it is non-denominational, students are kept to a strictly religious social standard. Dancing and relationships without parental consent are strictly forbidden.
Yet, Scanlan told NY mag that she never once doubted her choice of school. One reason could be because she’s not the only one there interested in getting a career on Capitol Hill “in just its first five years,” according to NY Mag, “the school came to rival Georgetown in the number of internships its students earned in the White House.”
However, Scanlan was quite vague when asked of her political stances, although she didn’t forget to include the ever-present “Miss America is a nonpartisan position.” She doesn’t really express any of her political concerns, citing that her possible presidential reign would be ”a long way from now, so we’ll see what comes up and what there is.” Her platform for the Miss American Pageant was focused on eating disorders, “PROMOTING POSITIVE BODY IMAGE AND SELF-ACCEPTANCE, ONE PERSON AT A TIME,” according to her blog.
While at the moment she doesn’t seem too concerned with engineering her platform for presidency, she is very much aware of the growing role of women in American politics. She said, “I admire really any women in politics, because it’s very difficult, and there’s a huge discrepancy between the number of women and men, and so it’s been great to see more women come up in those positions, and I think that’s great, that we’re moving toward that.”
Despite the beauty queen’s impressive aspirations, people haven’t been so supportive of her goals. One commentor posted, “Her goal is basically to become the smart, successful version of Sarah Palin. That is, unnervingly, the reason she is so far-sighted and non-committal on the reporter's political questions.”
But according to NY Mag, it seems as though Scanlan withholding of such points that could earn her more unpopularity is strategic and not simply dumb-witted. “Asking Scanlan about politics, it turns out, is like watching somebody fool around with a yo-yo: The game is not interactive; it’s vaguely frustrating and boring to watch, but you have to admire the skill involved. If most teenagers fling opinions around willy-nilly and with a minimum number of words, Scanlan’s facility runs along opposite lines. Her withholding is strategic, not airheaded.”
Thus, it seems as though America will be expecting a lot from the home schooled, Nebraskan girl. NY Mag also noted, ”...she [Scanlan] tells me that she can see herself as president. It doesn’t sound like an unreasonable plan."