By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN When Natalie Davis was crowned Miss Minnesota June 18, she remembers feeling very honored and excited to have received the title.
Going into the competition, Davis knew she was up against 20 incredible women.
“I just wanted to do my best, and I felt I had done that,” said Davis, a 2008 Dassel-Cokato High School graduate and daughter of Dave and Cory Davis of Dassel.
The competition took place at Eden Prairie High School June 16, 17, and 18.
On the first night, Davis competed in preliminaries for talent and on-stage question.
Her talent performance was “Nessun Dorma,” a song from Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Turandot,” and won the preliminary talent award.
The second night of preliminaries, Davis competed in the swimsuit and evening gown portion. She won the preliminary swimsuit award.
She was also awarded the Miss Minnesota Community Service award, which “meant the world to me,” Davis wrote on her blog.
“The whole reason I am involved in this program is because of my passion for community service,” she wrote.
Then, on the final day, the top 10 finalists were named, and they competed in the four areas once again.
Davis was also selected as a Quality of Life finalist for her platform “Autism Awareness: The Missing Piece.”
This platform is a personal one for her because her brother, Trevor, has autism. Trevor is also very excited for his big sister.
“He was the first person who ran up on stage and hugged me afterwards,” she said.
Through this platform, Davis is able to raise awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), in which she sites that Minnesota is number one in the nation for its high prevalence of autism. She does this by speaking to various civic organizations and groups. Davis recently spoke about her platform to a women’s group at her church, Dassel Evangelical Covenant.
She has also been working for the past few years with Autism Society of Minnesota through its annual Steps for Hope fundraiser, which raises $80,000 to $100,000 annually.
Possibly her greatest accomplishment with her platform has been the founding of the Awesome Club, a social skills program for children with ASD.
What began with four kids and four of her college classmates in 2008, has grown to 20 kids from two different schools and “too much volunteer interest for space,” Davis said, who is a senior at St. Olaf College in Northfield, majoring in chemistry.
As Miss Minnesota, Davis will also continue to promote the Miss America Organization’s platform, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. This consists of 180 hospitals for which pageant contestants help raise money for medical treatment.
“It’s a great program. I love it,” Davis.
For Davis, her pageant life began in 2006, when she was crowned Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen.
This was when she was first exposed to the Miss America Organization, and learned how great it was, she said.
This was also when she decided to continue competing for a chance at Miss Minnesota.
In 2008, she competed in her first “big girl pageant” and won the title of Miss South Central, making her eligible to compete for the crown of Miss Minnesota.
In 2009, she competed in her first Miss Minnesota competition, where she received second runner-up.
As a pre-med student, Davis decided to take last year off and focus on her academics.
In November, Davis competed for the title of Miss Mankato, another open pageant under the organization in which contestants don’t need to live within the town to be eligible.
Davis was crowned Miss Mankato, making her eligible to compete once again for the title of Miss Minnesota.
“Now, I got it! I’m Miss Minnesota and I get a chance to compete for Miss America in January,” Davis said with enthusiasm.
In the meantime, Davis will continue working on her platform, as well as the Miss America Organization’s platform, along with promoting the Miss Minnesota Education Foundation.
Overall, Davis has won $8,400 in scholarship assistance through her involvement with the Miss America Organization this year.
Davis gives much appreciation to the organization, as well as her family for their support through this.
“I am so thankful and blessed to have them in my life,” she said.
To read more about Davis and her platform, visit her website.