American Beauty: Regan Hartley

NH has only made the Top Ten once (in 2003) in the entire 90 years of the Miss America contest, but that's about to change if miss NH 2012 Regan Hartley has anything to say about it. tune in to ABC-TV on January 14 for the live broadcast of the pageant and see if this is our year.

What's the one question you always get asked as Miss NH?
"So, what exactly do you do as Miss New Hampshire? You only ride around in parades, right?"

OK, I've got to know, what's your standard reply?
Absolutely not! Being Miss New Hampshire is a fulltime job full of the unexpected. Some days I will be speaking at a rotary meeting, attending a chamber dinner or even walking the runway in New York City. Every day is different! The great thing about serving my state during this year is being able to inspire others.

Are there any secret handshakes or special information you get when you become Miss NH?
Although there are no secret handshakes, you do get the "inside scoop!" We have already begun planning the Miss New Hampshire 2012 production. It is going to be "Ah-inspiring."

You were Miss Keene Area before competing in Miss NH. Did you have any "pageant" dreams or inclinations as a young girl?
NO WAY! Growing up I wanted to become a professional singer. After making the top five at New Hampshire Idol, a woman from the Miss New Hampshire scholarship program approached my mother and I and told us about the scholarship opportunities available. Having the chance to sing and earn money for school – I was hooked!

Your cause as Miss NH is to help prevent bullying through education. What inspired that?
I was brutally assaulted in December of 2007, resulting in a fractured jaw and concussion. I had tried to ignore the anonymous threats online, the derogatory notes on my car, the rumors being spread in the halls and the food that was chucked towards me in the cafe. I felt so alone. I had lost the love in myself and even questioned my worth to live. After transferring to a private institution where I would be able to graduate – alive – I had begun to regain my self-love and confidence. I partnered with two different non-profit organizations, which were founded by mothers who had seen bullying happening in elementary and middle schools. In June of 2010 New Hampshire became the home of one of the greatest bullying laws in America. I wanted to insure that no other child would have to go through the pain that I had endured.

The Miss NH show is pretty amazing. What's it like rehearsing for a spectacle like that?
Last year we had a waterfall on stage! We have an amazing volunteer stage crew who work hundreds of hours to insure that our show is the best in the nation. Rehearsing for the dance numbers is terrible though. I am so thankful that I was put in the back – considering I am not a dancer and I clearly grew faster than my coordination.

NH has never won and only made the top ten in the Miss America competition once in 2003. Why do you think that is?
Different day, different judges, different result. I am confident that I could not only be the next Miss America, but I could also be one of the best Miss America's this nation has ever seen. I am so thankful for all of the love, encouragement and support I have received this year. I know, no matter the result, that I have already won.

I know there are Miss America enthusiasts who follow the state competitions. Do you ever get fan mail or notes from out of state?
Yes, I have! With my platform being so relevant in today's culture and society- I feel so blessed to have fan mail or letters saying that I have inspired someone who is being bullied to stay strong.

What was the best piece of advice anyone gave you about competing for Miss NH?
I told myself going into this pageant world that I was going to myself. If I wanted to crack a joke in the interview well, I was going to do it! I knew at the end of the day that no rhinestone crown was worth me pretending to be someone else.

What was the most stressful part of the competition for you?
The most stressful part is when you are done competing and you are waiting for your name to be called! Feeling completely vulnerable and knowing that your fate is in someone else's hands it terrifying to me.

Can you repeat your on-stage question?
I actually can't! The adrenaline rush erased all memory of what was asked or what I said! But I can tell you that I was once asked what type of pizza topping I would be if I could be a pizza topping. My answer: "A pepperoni because I'm a little spicy but full of substance!"

Categories: Q&A