Castle Valley winners vie for Miss Utah crown
Although organizations nationwide have worked over the past 20 years to change the public perception of pageant winners, the stereotypes surrounding them remain cruel and unfair to say the least. Words like plastic, shallow and stuck up are often used under ones breath and behind someones back to describe those who put themselves on the line in the demanding scholarship or beauty pageant atmosphere. However, after spending time with Miss Carbon and Emery County over the last week they showed themselves to be two of the most impressive, articulate, substantiative, and genuine women ever interview by the Sun Advocate.
This year Miss Carbon County is Danielle Martino, who reported that she became involved in the local pageant as a service opportunity, a chance to be involved in the community she loves.
"For some reason people seem to want you at their events if you have a crown on your head," laughed Martino. "I just saw it as the best way to get involved in Carbon County."
Martino got the opportunity to get involved immediately, just after she won the title, tragedy struck Castle Valley in the way of the Crandall Canyon mine disaster.
"I wanted to do all I could as soon as I could," said Martino. "I went right out and help to make posters showing our support for the families and their lost loved ones. That was all I could think to do in the beginning. But as time went on I was asked to attend several events as Miss Carbon County. I didn't want to do that though, I wanted to show up and Danielle Martino and show my support as a Price resident."
Martino explained that she didn't want to give interviews with her crown on during the tragedy. She knew the focus should remain on the miners.
Miss Emery County Karrie Johansen shared a similar experience. She became involved with the pageant because her twin sister had won the event the year before and was after her to just give it a try. And being involved with her community was very important to her as well.
"Our community does so much and each town in Emery has a unique culture. As Miss Emery County you are allowed to be involved in everything, not to mention that fact that at the time I was really excited about the laptop and scholarships that were available to the winner."
Johansen has lofty educational goals as she plans to start law school in the fall. She has been accepted to the University of Utah but has starry eyes for the University of Nevada Las Vegas. When asked if she could attend a college of her choosing, she paused and then decided on Georgetown.
"I have always wondered about the culture on the other end of the country," said Johansen. "I love my home and the west but I often wonder what I experiences I could have in the future."
The Crandall disaster also closely effected Johansen.
"I started fund raising for the families as soon as I heard," said Johansen. "I also had a lot to do with the children who had lost their fathers, uncles or grandfathers in the tragedy. The thing I am most proud of is a dinner I served at were we fed more than 12,000 people to raise money for everyone closely effected by what happened at Crandall Canyon."
While they will perform different talents, it is easy to see that the young women are passionate about what they are doing.
Martino, will perform a comedic monologue at the Miss Utah competition on July 7-12. She reports being excited because it will be the only performance of its kind at the pageant.
"I have acted since high school and it has always been something I love," said Martino. "I make people laugh at my job all the quite a bit, most of the time at my own expense but I don't care, I take a lot of joy in making others happy."
Johansen, will perform a Cinderella Waltz ballet piece titled "On Point."
When asked what they enjoyed most about their year as Miss Carbon and Emery County, Martino's answer was more board where Johansen focused directly.
"Being part of the veteran's war memorial was a really big deal for me," said Johansen. "We have such a rich history of service in our county and with the war playing such a big part in our daily lives, I just felt like I was doing something that was going to touch many people here in Emery."
For Martino the best part was just the public interaction and the service.
"It has made me a better person, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard when you are wearing this crown," said Martino. "I really have enjoyed the little girls that come up and say I want to be like you when I grow up, it puts a good deal of responsibility on you but in a really positive manner."
Both girls also wish they could have done more with the time they were given. When asked about the one thing she didn't like about being Miss Carbon County, Martino shyly stated that she didn't think she was going to be ready to give up her crown.
As they move on to the Miss Utah competition both girls have different concerns but feel they are ready to do all they can to bring home the crown.
"Even if you are nervous you can't let it show," said Martino. "Because they can see that and that can lose it for you right there. I'm just going to be myself, I can't do any more than that."
Miss Emery stated that one of her strong suits is going to be her knowledge of the county she was raised in.
"I want to share all that I can about Emery, all that we have to offer and all of the cool things that go on down here in my county."
On the lighter side both ladies were asked if the young men they know treated them any differently after they won their crowns. Their answers were a resounding yes.
"Guys just quit talking to me," said Martino. "They really treated my very differently but I don't feel like I was acting any different."
Johansen stated that the change was a big surprise to her, "I don't know why but men were so much more shy around me. It was really a lot harder to get a date after the pageant."
Johansen will be presenting a platform of continuing education and its importance in out communities. She has spoken to elementary, junior high, high school and college students during her tenure as Miss Emery County.
Martino's platform is titled "The clothes off my back," and is a charity program to promote self esteem for underprivileged children through anonymous donations.
The Castle Valley girls will move up state with winning on their minds but understand how difficult the competition is going to be, they both reported just wanting to make their home counties proud.
"Up there you aren't someone everyone knows, you are just contestant 19," said Martino. "But I am determined to make the top ten. It has been awhile since Miss Carbon County made it that far and I am going to do all I can to give my home a good showing."