For Kate Redeker, 16, the newly-crowned Miss Wisconsin Teen USA 2013, beauty pageants aren’t just about looks.
“What I learned from this pageant is, yeah, people may care about how you look, but what they’re going to remember the most about you is how you present yourself and what you say,” Redeker said. “That makes the lasting impression.”
Redeker, a junior at Sheboygan Lutheran High School, won the title of Miss Wisconsin Teen USA 2013 last weekend at the Miss USA pageant that was held in Fond du Lac. She is the first from Sheboygan County to win the title and the only area contestant to enter the competition.
With only two previous pageant experiences under her belt, Redeker won over 42 other teenage contestants.
While she didn’t place at all during her first pageant experience, the 2011 National American Miss Wisconsin, Redeker said she wasn’t discouraged.
“This year, I was confident,” said Redeker of the difference between the pageant and her title-winning experience. “I think that was the key.”
Less than a month after her first pageant, Redeker entered the Miss Wisconsin Teen USA 2012 pageant and placed among the top 15 competitors, which earned her a $29,000 scholarship to Lindenwood University in Missouri.
The win was enough to motivate her to enter next year.
When Redeker found out she had secured a place among the top 15 again this year, she was thrilled.
“I would have been happy with just that,” she said.
As the number of contestants on stage dwindled from 15 to five and finally to two, Redeker said she began to cry and shake as she held runner-up contestant Teaka Griesbach’s hand in anticipation of the announcement.
“All of a sudden, I (heard) Teaka’s name and I started screaming and bawling, and I immediately said thank you to the judges and looked up and said thank you to Jesus,” Redeker said.
Redeker‘s win earned her a plethora of scholarships, including a full-ride to Lindenwood University, the school she says she’s currently most interested in attending.
Redeker will advance to the 2013 Miss Teen USA pageant, the date and location of which are yet to be determined.
Parents Steve and Tricia Redeker said they couldn’t be more proud of their daughter.
“In everything she does, I’m proud of her, every bit of her,” said Tricia Redeker. “I always knew she could win this. It’s inside of her. … This was just Katie’s time to shine.”
When Redeker approached her parents with the idea of being in a pageant last year, her mom admitted she was skeptical at first.
“There’s a whole lot of thoughts involved: money, what if she doesn’t do too well? … Can we do this? Am I doing the right thing?” said Tricia Redeker.
But after experiencing the pageant, Tricia Redeker said the experience was “so far” from being superficial.
“This was the best experience I think any girl could have,” she said. “That organization brings out the best in girls.”