WSU sophomore Hannah Wagner crowned Miss Kansas


Sophomore Hannah Wagner was crowned June 6 as Miss Kansas.

From a July 15 issue of The Sunflower —

For a girl who grew up thinking about books and dancing ballet, being a pageant competitor was not necessarily the first thing on Hannah Wagner’s mind.

Wagner, a sophomore majoring in business, said she finally agreed to compete in a pageant when the man who sold prom dresses convinced her to participate in the Miss Augusta pageant.

“I showed up not knowing what I was doing, but it turned out really, really well for me,” Wagner said.

After winning Miss Augusta in October, Wagner competed in the Miss Kansas pageant competition, which was held in Pratt last month. She won the crown.

The Miss Kansas Organization is a non-profit organization that offers collegiate scholarships for young women. Sponsors have collected more than $40 million in scholarships available for contestants.

“The best part about competing is knowing that it’s a scholarship organization, it’s not anything to do with beauty,” Wagner said. “Seeing that there are so many women involved in college education is amazing, and walking out with over $7,000 in scholarships is very rewarding.”

To be eligible to compete, girls must be enrolled in college and be between ages 17 and 24.

Pageant activities include displaying unique talents, as well as advocating for a platform issue.

Wagner started her talent — dancing — when she was 3 years old. Not only does she perform at pageants, but also takes part in dance classes at Wichita State and is involved with Ballet Wichita.

For competition, she chose an issue that hit home to her as a woman pursuing an education in business — woman’s complacency in the workplace.

“Being in the business world, it’s really hard to see everyone just sitting back and not getting involved. So, one thing I am very passionate about is trying to get people to step up and get the jobs they want instead of watching others,” she said.

Not only has she received support from around campus — whether it be encouragement and support from her sorority, Alpha Phi, or being featured on social media sites — she also competed with three other Shockers.

“It was really cool to be with other WSU students because I didn’t feel like it was a competition,” she said. “It was just a week of getting to know people, having fun, being tired and wearing heels. Any time I won an award, everyone was there to hug me.”

Old friend Kiah Duggans, a top 10 finalist, as well as new friends Amanda Johnson and Jade Dowling, also represented the university.

“I’m happy I was able to meet people before I actually attend the school,” said Dowling, an incoming WSU freshman. “The Student Ambassador Society has also been a large support system.”

Duggins encouraged anyone interested in the crown to sign up for local pageants.

“The more Shockers competing in Pratt, the better,” she said. “I have received so much encouragement from different departments and people from the university. I even got a letter of encouragement from our Student Government president.”

Once Wagner was crowned as Miss Kansas, she was quickly taken away for news conferences and interviews, having to put her former life on hold.

“When they called my name, I didn’t know what I should do,” she said. “It was just a big blur. I found out later that there were confetti guns and smoke cannons, and I don’t remember any of that.”

This summer, Wagner said she will be meeting all of the sponsors, perfecting her talent, picking out her outfits and getting everything ready for the Miss America Pageant.

 “I remember sitting down with my mom watching Miss America when I was younger, seeing these ideal, fantastic women that I could never be,” Wagner said. “After I won, my mom said to me, ‘That’s you now,’ and I just broke down in tears.

“I hope I can do the same thing for some little girl.”