On June 16, 2019, the Miss Ohio competition was held in Mansfield, Ohio. Among the 22 women competing for the title were professional performers, college students, and aspiring politicians, all ranging from 18-25 years old. That night, Miss Montgomery County, Caroline Grace Williams, was crowned Miss Ohio 2019!
Caroline Grace, a 24-year-old professional performer from Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from Miami University in 2017. She has now returned to Miami to work as an admissions counselor while also performing in professional theater in Cincinnati (fun fact, as a teen she was in a Christian-pop group called PureNRG). Having previously won the title of Miss Oxford, Caroline Grace competed in Miss Ohio in 2017 before taking a year off and coming back to win the whole competition in 2019! She also walked away with the preliminary talent award as well as scholarship awards to assist with college loans.
In rereading the beginning of this article, it can be noticed that the word “pageant" does not appear once. In fact, Miss Ohio is not a pageant; it's a scholarship program. In recent years, pageants have been completely reformed, with Miss Ohio now being referred to as “Miss Ohio 2.0." Focusing less on looks and conventional beauty, modern pageants focus on confidence, knowledge of international events/issues, and dedication to a platform.
Pageants receive a lot of negative reactions, mostly due to preconceived notions about pageants and their focus solely on “beauty." Modern scholarship programs all over the country are attempting to combat these opinions, inspiring girls to be confident, informed, and dedicated to bettering the world around them. Participants are awarded scholarships to encourage them to pursue their passion in and out of college.
Despite what opinions you may have had about pageants, any Miami student, current or former, should be proud of Caroline Grace. The job of Miss Ohio is no easy task, and she will handle it with positivity and grace, representing #LoveAndHonor all over the country.