Fairbanks-raised Miss Alaska USA prepares to hand over crown to successor

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 4:15 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Saturday, the Miss Universe competition will crown a new Miss Alaska USA.

The current title holder is Hannah Carlile, the first Fairbanks resident to hold the title since 2008.

Carlile moved to Fairbanks when she was 11 years old. “I didn’t really have a lot of opportunities to wear gowns or girly things,” she said, adding, ”I decided to sign up for Miss Alaska USA at first because I wanted to wear a beautiful gown somewhere. I wanted to be girly.”

After being crowned Miss Alaska USA in 2019, Carlile competed on a national level in November of last year.

“Miss USA happened during a global pandemic,’ she said. “We had to wear masks backstage as well as onstage, and I will admit as someone that is from the arctic I didn’t have a lot of experience doing makeup. We had to learn how to do our own makeup because we couldn’t have makeup artists.”

Carlile says pageant girls are misunderstood by a lot of people. “I didn’t know how impactful it was. I thought it was just a thing to go out and look pretty and have fun. Then when I realized that it’s actually a meaningful thing where you can change the world, and look good while you’re doing it, then I was sold.”

Carlile uses her title as a platform to bring awareness to equity in education. “It is no secret that the education system in the U.S., as well as internationally, is not equitable. There are a lot of people that don’t have the same opportunities as others. So I created a program, ‘Equal Chances for an Equal Future’, and through that I just try to give people opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

This effort includes gifting classrooms with school supplies, fundraising, and educating youth about scholarship opportunities.

On being Miss Alaska USA 2020, Carlile said, “It’s rather glamorous, but it’s also... it’s a glamorous life that requires you to be giving of yourself, your energy, and your heart, really.”

And on Saturday, Carlile will crown her successor, Miss Alaska USA 2021.

The Miss Alaska USA 2021 pageant will be happening mostly online with a limited in-person audience on May 8th in Anchorage.

Online tickets can be found here.

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