BELOIT – She’s applied winged eyeliner since the seventh grade. She practices opera an hour-and-a-half a day, interviews herself, exercises mindfulness, volunteers and is honed in the art of high-heel balance.
She’s Miss Beloit Abby Miller and she’s ready to compete for the crown at the upcoming Miss Wisconsin pageant. If she wins, she would be the first Miss Wisconsin of African-American descent. Miller said former Miss Beloit Paige Frendahl was the last local competitor to break the top 10 in 2013, and it’s time there is another top 10 competitor, or perhaps a Miss Wisconsin, from Beloit.
Miller and Miss Beloit’s Outstanding Teen Allison Hoffman will represent Beloit at the Miss Wisconsin and Miss Wisconsin‘s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition in Oshkosh, June 12-15. The state teen competition will be on June 14, and the Miss Wisconsin finals will be held Saturday, June 15. The winners of the state competition will go on to compete at Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.
Miller is the daughter of Michele Miller, who works at Nora’s Place in South Beloit, and father Mark Froese, a retired Beloit firefighter. She’s a 2017 Beloit Memorial High School graduate who is a junior at UW Whitewater studying political science and minoring in communications and electronic media. She plans to attend law school. Her platform is about gaining control and living life without anxiety.
Hoffman is a Beloit Turner High School senior and the daughter of Beloit Police detective David Hoffman and mom Marie Croninger who owns The Painted Petunia furniture business. Her platform is “you are enough, promoting body positivity and high self esteem.” Hoffman and her mom also have a unique hobby together, rescuing a variety of animals from raccoon to opossum and fox.
The two are approaching the Miss Wisconsin pageant with seriousness and focus. Miller said she spent years preparing for the big day, in theater as a child, singing opera and competing in Miss Beloit three times before her big break. While her platform is based, in part, on her struggles with anxiety as a child, she’s practiced and fought herself out of it and wants to help others do the same. The young ladies say they know their values, are strong and will compete with confidence.
Miller said she chose to sing opera because of the technical difficulty. It’s also a talent held by some of the winners of the Miss America competition and would be a change of pace from the recent Miss Wisconsin‘s who have been dancers. Even if her nerves creep up during the talent competition, Miller said she is building muscle memory, practicing opera for an hour-and-a-half daily.
Even while driving in her car Miller is at work, practicing public speaking and brainstorming interview questions.
“I think of a topic and hope people think I’m on the phone,” she joked.
Miller has also spent plenty of time shopping for the perfect clothing for the competition as well as working part time jobs at Walgreens and the City of Beloit Parks and Leisure in addition to volunteering in the community.
Despite her many pageant preparations and other responsibilities, Miller said she does something for the crown daily. She and Hoffman have hit the ground running making appearances at Beloit Farmers Market, Gaston School Carnival, the Easter Egg Eggstravaganza, Central Christian Church’s egg hunt and more.
To advance her platform Miller is working on a project to get more diverse health education in schools which would include mental health tied to physical health. She is also offering tips for dealing with anxiety and stress on “The Happy Jar” on Instagram, Twitter and abbygirlie1.wixsite.com/thehappyjar which includes blog posts.
Hoffman said she is excited and nervous about the upcoming competition. Her talent is singing and she will be performing “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie. She said she’s learned a lot though the competition such as interviewing and how to talk more easily to strangers. She said she will most likely go on to compete in Miss Beloit after her experience as Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen. Both Miller and Hoffman have been watching videos on competitions around the state and researching all the ways to secure a victory. With some areas of the state having strong pageant culture, such as Door County, and unique themed local competitions, the girls know the competition will be fierce and they are prepared.