After months of preparation, a Colchester woman said she feels ready to represent Vermont in the televised Miss USA pageant in Shreveport-Bossier, La. on Monday, May 21.
Maia-Jena Allo, 20, grew up in South Burlington and lived in Arizona for her high school years. After graduating two years ago, she settled in Colchester and has stayed in town ever since.
Allo has competed in pageants for five consecutive years and was crowned Miss Vermont last November. She’s attended charity events and volunteered since earning the state title, all while training for the next stage of competition.
The planning includes everything from frequent gym workouts and selecting garments to practice interview sessions and current event studies. Allo said she also focuses on keeping calm and getting her mind “ready to be in a competition with fifty other women.”
“I feel like the five years I’ve been competing [have] helped me in preparing for the national pageant, just because it’s so familiar to me,” Allo said.
In between pageant tasks, Allo spends her time skydiving. With more than 200 dives under her belt, she’s looking to become a pro-rated skydiver soon and eventually hopes to turn the sport into a career.
She also works closely with Burton’s Chill Foundation, a free youth program that teaches board sports while focusing on building resiliency “through targeted lessons and challenging physical activities,” according to their website.
She said she loves spending time outside in Colchester, especially taking her dog for walks out on the causeway.
The Miss USA pageant aims to empower women “to realize their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success,” according to a press release from the Miss Universe Organization. President Donald Trump owned the company from 1997 until 2015.
This year’s competition, to be hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, marks the first time the Miss Teen USA contest will take place immediately prior to the Miss USA event, according to the press release.
Allo attended last year’s competition as a spectator and said that experience has settled any anxiety about the live broadcast.
“Even though it will be completely different being on stage than in the audience, I’m excited about it,” Allo said. “The live telecast version is not really that nerve-wracking to me.”
Allo said she’s already become friends with her Miss USA roommate and is excited to embark on the two-week trip to Louisiana, if a bit daunted by the packing that still needs to be done before she leaves.
She’s not naïve about the competitive nature of the event, but is looking forward to the lineup of events scheduled for the 51 contestants, including a concert, crawfish boil, school and hospital visit.
“There are always going to be those people that are super competitive — and I’m not saying I’m not competitive — but I also like to make friends,” Allo said.
The Miss USA pageant will be broadcasted live on FOX from the Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport-Bossier, La. from 8 to 10 p.m. on Monday, May 21. More information about Allo and her fellow competitors is available at www.missusa.com/contestants.