Bainbridge native judges Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

Published 2:29 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

Former Bainbridge High School graduate and Miss America Organization contender, Candace Read got the opportunity of a lifetime last week when she saw the world of pageantry from a different point of view: the judge’s seat.

Read, a 2007 graduate and daughter of Charlotte Howard, is now a top style influencer and wardrobe stylist in Columbus, Ohio. Upon graduation, Read competed in the Miss America pageants from 2008-2010 and made various connections throughout her time. One of her many connections led her to the opportunity to judge. 

“They thought I would be a good contender, and I was selected to judge,” Read said.

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After being selected, Read began the week- long process of conducting preliminary and private interviews with the 51 girls competing in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.

Being on the other side of the judging table gave Read an entirely new outlook.

“Getting to be on the other side makes you appreciate the process and really see how it works,” Read explained.

Read quickly learned all the tough interview questions she was posed with over the years didn’t come from just one judge; as a panel they all contribute questions to ask the contestants.

More than just contributing to questions, Read realized all her fellow judges had something valuable to bring to the table and something unique they offered.

“This experience allowed me to meet all these people from different backgrounds and walks of life,” Read said.

In addition to gaining a new appreciation for the judging panel, Read also gained an appreciation for the teen program. She saw that it taught teens more than just pageantry; it taught them how to truly be a servant leader in their community and be an inspiration to others around them and younger girls who look up to them.

Read also sympathized with the girls, she knew how stiff the competition could be and the feelings that come along with it. She said she felt that same sense of nervousness for the girls as she did for herself before each phase of competition.

While Read never won in her pageant category, she said that’s never what it was about and she hopes the girls who also lost the pageant can see that too.

“It’s not about winning the crown,” she said. “It’s about using the opportunity to better yourself.”

Read didn’t realize that at the time, but since then she has used the connections made in the organization to better herself and use the skills she gained to pursue her dreams, one of which led to this judging, which she will never forget.