5Q :: Hermantown senior the next Miss Minnesota Teen USA?Niila Witikko, who currently holds the title of Miss Hermantown, will try her luck in this year’s Miss Minnesota Teen USA pageant Sunday, Nov. 28, in Burnsville.
Man, there must be something in the water up at UMD. Our area got some attention last year when Courtney Basara was crowned Miss Minnesota USA, and it looks like another Bulldog might take home the Miss Minnesota Teen USA crown this year.
Niila Witikko, who currently holds the title of Miss Hermantown, will try her luck in this year’s Miss Minnesota Teen USA pageant Sunday, Nov. 28, in Burnsville.
Field-day jitters or not, Witikko was quick to respond to our questions about the big event:
Budgeteer: What prompted you to participate in the pageant?
Witikko: First of all, to be honest, my main motivation in doing the Miss Minnesota Teen pageant was the money involved.
I find myself in the college application process right now, and there are large sums of money being given away to not only the winner but to the top 30 contestants.
On top of that, it’s a great excuse to get dressed up and meet new people.
What kind of experience have you had with pageants before this?
I really have no experience with pageants, other than the Miss Hermantown pageant which I participated in this past summer.
That was completely for the $500 scholarship offered by the Hermantown Federal Credit Union and the Hermantown Chamber of Commerce.
I was crowned Miss Hermantown, and the experience has been incredible.
Have you had any contact with Basara at school? If so, did she give you any advice?
I am a full-time student at UMD — as well as a senior still in high school — and was aware that this year’s Miss Minnesota USA, Courtney Basara, also attends there.
I had seen her in the hall several times on my way to the College of Liberal Arts when I actually approached her and asked her about her experience.
She told me it would be well worth my time and effort.
Also, at a workshop for pageant preparation in October, I met Haley O’Brien, Miss Minnesota Teen USA.
She was beyond friendly and she told me that I would be surprised at how well I will do and that, no matter what, the pageant weekend is a blast.
If you win, where will you be taking your scholarship money? And what will you study there?
If I were to win the pageant, I will most likely be putting the scholarship money toward UMD.
I have applied and been accepted there to the College of Liberal Arts to study sociology.
However, I have not heard back yet from the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, and that is also an option, should I be accepted.
No matter where I attend college, I would like to study sociology for a [degree] in social work.
Finally, what are some of your favorite things to do in this area?
I am on the cross country and track-and-field teams at Hermantown High School, which keeps me busy most of the year.
I also play guitar at local coffee shops in my spare time.
NEWS TO USE
This year’s Miss Minnesota Teen USA pageant will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, in Burnsville. See www.missminnesotausa.com for more information.