by MIKE CHAIKEN
When Miss America contestants meet behind closed doors for their 10-minute interview with judges, several topics will be covered.
But with 10 minutes, there is invariably something that wasn’t asked that a contestant might wish had been broached.
Oregon’s Shivali Kadam, who received the private interview award on the second night of Miss America preliminary competitions on Monday, Dec. 17, said there definitely was one question she had wished she got to answer.
“I really didn’t get to discuss… my talent,” said Kadam. “I performed ‘Reflection’ by Christina Aguilera. It’s meaningful to me because I do it in an Indian-inspired gown. One of the things I did get to talk about is my cultural duality – being an Indian immigrant in this country. It really impacted my life in my youth. So, getting to share a little bit of my heritage with the audience is really special.”
Georgia’s Victoria Hill, who won the onstage question for the second night of preliminaries, said, “The minute I walked out, the first thing I wished I had said and I wasn’t able to say is how much I do fundraising-wise.”
“I’m a performer (she sang opera on the first night of preliminaries, which won her the talent award),” said Hill. “At any moment, I have so many songs ready to perform a concert.”
“In my state,” said Hill, “I’ve raised over $125,000 within the past four months just in fundraisers, recitals and concerts that I’ve organized… It’s something I’d really love to do for the Miss America Organization and for children in foster care and for (the Children’s Miracle Network, the official charity of MAO).”
Virginia’s Camille Schrier made Miss America history by being the first woman to win a preliminary talent award with a scientific experiment on stage. She demonstrated the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, which resulted in a burst of foam all over the stage.
“The real irony of this situation is I never thought I could compete in Miss America,” said Schrier of winning the talent award on the second night of preliminaries. “I entered my first local competition in April… I did not think I had a talent and to stand here as the preliminary talent winner is particularly meaningful to me personally and is a testament to how this organization can be relevant for women across the board.”
Asked if there were any scientists she admired who were able to make science fun, Schrier said, “I really admire Kate the Chemist (Kate Biberdorf). She’s a professor at the University of Texas at Austin. She does demonstrations like this on talk shows all the time so she’s an inspiration to me.”
“There also was a woman who was Miss Vermont 2015 (Alayna Westcom) who did do this on the Miss America stage,” said Schrier.
“So, when I was thinking of how I could combine my scientific talents to something that would be entertaining for Miss America,” said Schrier. “Those were kind of my inspirations.”
Would she be interested in being a scientific television personality like Kate the Chemist?
“That would be really fun,” said Schrier.
“I’m actually pursing a doctor of pharmacy right now at Virginia Commonwealth University. My plans now are to be an executive in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Schrier. “But this organization has a way of changing our paths… So, I’m open to all opportunities.
To be a television personality promoting science “would be something fun for me. Something I would not expect.”
The Miss America finals will be aired at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19 on NBC.