Brainerd's Savannah Cole ready for Miss America
If you would have asked Savannah Cole, a 2013 Brainerd High School graduate, three years ago if she ever thought she would be a Miss America candidate, her answer would have been "No."...
If you would have asked Savannah Cole, a 2013 Brainerd High School graduate, three years ago if she ever thought she would be a Miss America candidate, her answer would have been "No."
"I grew up as a tomboy, in plain clothes, a pony tail with no makeup," Cole said in a phone interview from Atlantic City.
Well here she is. Cole, who was crowned Miss Minnesota last June, joins 53 other candidates who will compete at 8 p.m. Sunday for the title in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. The pageant will be broadcast live on ABC.
Cole, 19, the daughter of Rick and Deb Cole of Brainerd, spent all week in Atlantic City making appearances, doing rehearsals and competing in the interview, swimsuit and evening gown preliminary rounds leading up to the Miss America Pageant.
In the preliminary rounds, swimsuit represents 15 percent of the candidates' score going into the competition; evening gown is 20 percent; talent is 35 percent; private interview is 25 percent; on stage question is 5 percent.
Cole said she never thought about being in pageants until the 2013 Miss Minnesota and Nisswa native Rebecca Yeh talked to her about it. Yeh was named fourth-runner up in last year's Miss America's competition.
"Rebecca was my violin teacher and she wanted me to do this," Cole said. "I started to get involved in pageants and I really enjoyed it all. ... Once I got into the pageant scene it was then that I knew I would get to the Miss America Pageant at one time or another."
Cole was in Brainerd Chamber Orchestra with Yeh. They both played violin. Cole later switched to playing the viola.
Cole said Yeh offered her tips on what to expect at the Miss America Pageant. Cole said Yeh told her, "What little sleep you will get, how long all the rehearsals would be, but she also told me to have fun with it all. She said that I should pretend that I am the first Miss Minnesota to compete and to do the best possible that I can do."
Cole said every morning the candidates have to be up and ready to go by 6 a.m., meaning they get up at 4 a.m. to do their hair and makeup. The candidates then go all day until about midnight.
"Some people do energy drinks, but I nap as much as I can," said Cole. "Sleeping on chairs is great."
Cole's platform is on epilepsy, "Bringing it Out of the Shadow." Cole has a close friend who has epilepsy, who has had to deal with having many seizures while going to class. Cole said she wants to educate people about epilepsy on her friend's behalf.
During the preliminary interview competition, Cole was asked "What should we do if someone with epilepsy is having a seizure." She responded that there is a three step action: "Clear, call and calm." Cole said people must clear the area around the person so they don't hurt themselves; call 911 or ask someone to call for help; and calm the person when they wake up because they may be disoriented about what had just happened.
Cole, who was involved in orchestra, choir and theater in high school, chose vocals as her talent. She will sing "House of the Rising Sun," by The Animals. Cole said she grew up listening to classic rock. Her father would often quiz the family on their classic rock knowledge.
"I chose vocal as my talent because I've been performing in theater since age 4," said Cole. "Singing in front of an audience is something I am used to. I get nervous playing violin in front of people. Singing comes more natural to me."
Cole, who is studying physical therapy at North Dakota State University, said this week has been a great experience leading up to the Miss America Pageant.
"This is really exciting and to think I am one of 53 candidates who have this wonderful opportunity," Cole said.
Rick Cole said Brainerd is making history with the Miss Minnesota/Miss America pageants.
"This is the first time having back-to-back state winners from the same area," said Cole. "I don't think this has ever happened.
"Savannah and Rebecca both played in the Brainerd Chamber Orchestra together ... Rebecca was very good at talking with any pageant candidate on what to look for."
"This is certainly a once in a lifetime experience for Savannah. We are so proud of her on what she has accomplished and we look forward to what is to come."
The Cole family flew to Atlantic City on Monday.
In an email Thursday, Rick Cole said, "Savannah competed well in swimsuit and evening gown last night (Wednesday). Many people were impressed with her polka dot swimsuit and evening gown was good. Tonight (Thursday) is the big night for Savannah as she competes in the talent competition. I attended the rehearsal this morning and she was the highlight of the morning with her song, 'House of the Rising Sun.' We are optimistic that the judges will favor Savannah."