Shantz, of Redfield, places 4th at USA Ambassador National Pageant
By Shiloh Appel
Olivia Shantz, of Redfield, placed 4th at the USA Ambassador National Pageant held in Florida July 22-28th, 2019. Shantz, who graduated from Redfield High school in May 2019, first became involved in pageantry in the 7th grade.
“I got started in pageantry because my mom actually got in a really bad car accident, so the [USA Ambassador] directors thought this would be a good way for me to get my mind off of things and gain more self-confidence. That is how it really started, but I continued to do it because you get more involved in the community, you build confidence and it makes you a better person overall,” said Shantz.
Shantz said she enjoys the community service aspect of the USA Ambassador program the most. She also stands by the pageant’s motto, “Success in Leadership, Integrity, Character and Confidence,” or “SLICC.”
“The USA Ambassador Pageant revolves around community service,” said Shantz. “It is almost a process of growing into a new person and getting involved in your community. It is not all about the looks. It is about the true person you are.”
While active in pageantry, Shantz has become more involved in the community by raising money to help victims of cancer and Alzheimers, and volunteering at the Tri-County Good Samaritan.
In April of this year, Shantz competed in the USA Ambassador State Pageant in Viborg, SD and received the title of Miss Mount Rushmore. Without losing a beat, Shatnz got busy preparing for the national competition.
“We actually got together — the whole state pageant — and we had mock interviews to get us prepared for Nationals,” said Shantz.
At the national competition, Shantz competed in the “USA Fashion Wear,” “Interview,” “On Stage Chat” and “Fit and Fab” segments of the competition. During her “On Stage Chat” segment, Shantz said she was asked, “How can we break the stigma around mental illness?” She had 30 seconds to give her answer.
“My answer was that, unfortunately, there is a negative stigma towards people with mental illnesses, but the way we can help fix this is by educating the community on the different signs and symptoms to know that they are not alone. I also said that your mental health is just as important as your physical health,” said Shantz.
Not only did Shantz place 4th overall at the National Pageant, she was also awarded the honor of first runner-up in the nation in “Fit and Fabulous,” in which she modeled workout clothes of her choosing.
Overall, Shantz said the biggest lesson she has learned throughout the process is to “be you and be confident.”
“There will be people who threaten you. But nobody can see who you are, only the judges can see that. And just the experience is the best part about the pageant. It is not necessarily winning a crown,” said Shantz. “Throughout the whole thing, you learn how to interview for a job and you learn how be confident on stage.”
Shantz expressed her thanks to Haider Construction for supporting her throughout her journey as Miss Mount Rushmore USA Ambassador and has made her contact information available to those who are looking for an appearance opportunity. Shantz can be contacted at 605-450-5560 or emailed at [email protected]