Miss North Dakota USA, Burlington, is heading to Reno to compete for the title of Miss USA 2019

Samantha Redding will compete for the title of Miss USA 2019

Submitted Photo Cutline: Miss North Dakota USA Samantha Redding was raised in Burlington, where she still lives. She will be heading to Reno Tahoe to compete for the title of Miss USA 2019 on May 2.

On May 2, women representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia will compete for the title of Miss USA. This year, North Dakota will be represented by Miss North Dakota USA winner Samantha Redding from Burlington. With the hopes of bringing home the title of Miss USA for North Dakota, Redding will be heading to Reno Tahoe on April 19 to prepare.

Redding grew up in Burlington, living in the same home until she graduated and headed to Minot State where she studied Special Education and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education.

“My sister was born with Down syndrome, so it’s always been something I’ve lived through with her and really gotten to see the family aspect of it. I’ve always loved children, so it was kind of a given for me,” Redding explained.

After graduating, Redding lives just a block from her childhood home.

She began her career in pageantry after getting a letter in the mail about the Miss North Dakota USA pageant. At first she didn’t think it was something for her.

“I was always in sports and always kept to myself. I didn’t like to do things in the spotlight, but the more I thought about it, the more I talked myself into it,” she said.

For Redding, joining the competition came down to her love of North Dakota. She believed that if someone is going to represent the state, it should be someone who loves it as much as she does.

“I just want to represent what North Dakota has to offer and I think that it offers so many different things,” she said.

Redding competed in the Miss North Dakota USA three times before winning this last competition. Now she is headed to compete on the next level.

When she first arrives in Reno Tahoe for the Miss USA competition, Redding will spend two weeks intensely preparing for the competition. She will be doing eight hour rehearsals, interviews, photo shoots and more.

Then on May 2, at 7 p.m., Redding will start the two hour competition alongside 50 other competitors to see who Miss USA 2018 Sarah Rose Summers will be crowning as her successor.

“I hope to bring it home to North Dakota just because I’m so proud of my state that’s raised me to be who I am. I really just want to be a voice for people who don’t have one or may not know how to use theirs yet,” she said.

As she is preparing to leave, she says it is all starting to feel real and she is growing more and more excited.

“I feel really good about the competition,” she said. “I feel empowered and I feel like I’m really bringing my best.”

Redding has gotten to where she is because she decided to step out of her comfort zone and try something new, something she encourages others to do.

“I just think that it’s really important for people to step out of their comfort zone and to just try something new, whether it be pageantry or a new sport or even reading a new book. Something so simple can change your life in such a drastic way,” she said.

Redding never thought she would be going to Miss USA. She would watch the competitions and think it was never something she could do, then she decided to step out of her comfort zone and try something new.

“It’s been honestly life changing. I feel like I’ve grown so much and I’m able to speak my mind. I didn’t use to be someone who enjoyed public speaking or interviews, but it’s really helped me to find what I’m good at,” she said.

Redding now works to try and empower others to do new things. She believes everyone is their own worst critic and holds themselves back more than anything else. She encourages people to go for their dreams no matter how big or small.

When going and speaking to schools as a part of her duties as Miss North Dakota USA, Redding often talks about the importance of inclusion and accepting people as they are. She talks about really finding the value in individuality.

Many of Reddings goals as Miss North Dakota USA have been to help all children reach their educational and personal goals. She takes part in a variety of organizations such as the North Dakota Buddy Walk, 2nd Story, Dream Catchers Baseball, Special Olympics of North Dakota and Minot Area Homeless Coalition.

As Miss North Dakota USA, Redding is also trying to bring two new organizations to North Dakota – Best Buddies International and the Miss Amazing Pageant.

Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that Miss Universe and Miss USA work with very closely. It works to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Miss Amazing Pageant gives girls and women with disabilities a chance to compete in pageantry, giving them a chance to overcome setbacks and show how beautiful they are.

“I was so lucky to be able to go to South Dakota to see their state pageant and it was really inspiring,” she said. “To see something so inspiring and know that it’s a possibility to happen in North Dakota soon is really exciting for me.”

For Redding, pageantry is more than just women standing on stage in pretty dresses. While she does greatly enjoy that part and is excited to wear hers for Miss USA 2019, it’s so much more. They train hard, training their bodies, their minds, and their hearts to put everything into something that that could either end within moments or change their lives.

“I’m so honored to be a part of this amazing group of women, 51 of the strongest, most powerful, well-spoken, inspiring young ladies I’ve ever met in my life,” Redding said. “I don’t think people understand the hard work that goes into it because pageantry is often shown as a girl in a swimsuit or that girl with the pretty crown. Well, that girl with the pretty crown puts in a lot of hours. It’s a full time job. I really just want people to be proud of me representing their state and I hope I can make them proud.”

(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Editor Mike Sasser at 857-1959 or Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to msasser@minotdailynews.com.)