Behind the crown: Miss Arizona Scholarship Pageant

Since 1921, Miss Arizona has evolved from a boardwalk beauty pageant to the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women.

It’s much more than just a crown and sash; it takes dedication, preparation and a lot of support.

The newly crowned Miss Arizona, Madison Esteves has grown up in the pageant world. “I have been a part of this organization since I was 5 years
old and dreamed of being Miss Arizona for 15 years. Its finally happened, I never ever thought it would happen,” Madison Esteves said.

There’s so much work that happens before that magical night; years of dedication and two local competitors know about that work firsthand.

Miss City of Yuma Hailey Bernardo said, “It’s much more than wearing a crown when I volunteer. We try to tell little kids that we’re helping the food bank, which is my platform, we’re raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, really getting the community involved and showing them being a princess is more than wearing a crown.”

Miss Yuma County Kacey Turner said if crowned she would continue to raise awareness for the homeless.

Kacey Turner said, “That’s my passion, I love helping the less fortunate, I love helping people who can’t help themselves.”

The competition is tough. On the final night, only 11 girls move forward for the Miss Arizona title.

Turner said, “You never know what was said in the interview, what questions were asked, anybody could take the crown tonight.”

Bernardo said, “If I don’t come back with the crown, I will come back with friends. Anytime I come up to Phoenix, I’ll have a new best friend and that’s more important than anything. It’s out of my hands now.”

But, what are the judges looking for when they make their decision?


Executive Director of Yuma Scholarship Pageant June Wolfe said, “They’re looking for the moment, looking for the girl that really brings it during state week.”

Turner said, “Someone who had a platform she was very passionate about and somebody who could be a great role model, a great leader, someone who is going to be a well rounded Miss Arizona.”

Madi Esteves will be competing for the Miss America title in Atlantic City on September 13th.

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