Miss North Dakota Crowned Miss America 2018: Former Contestant Says It Gives SD Hope

Miss North Dakota has been crowned Miss America 2018, the first ever titleholder from the state. Even though a Miss South Dakota has yet to earn the same honor, a past contestant says it gives others hope.

“Your new Miss America is… Miss North Dakota.”

Competing against 50 other women on national television, 23-year-old Cara Mund took the title of Miss America 2018. The Bismarck resident won after a series of swimsuit and talent contests, onstage speeches, and interviews by judges.

Tessa Dee of Sioux Falls said, “To see North Dakota do so well and continually go from top 15 to top 10, top 7, top 5, and ultimately winning, was so incredibly exciting.”

As Miss South Dakota 2013, Dee competed on the same stage. She says she was there more for the experience.

Dee, who is also Miss South Dakota USA 2017, said, “Being from a small state, truly you don’t really expect to win, to place too much when you go to a national pageant, at least in my experience, because you’re used to seeing the larger states New York, California, the southern states place.”

Dee (pictured left) says after watching Sunday night, women from the Midwest can have confidence knowing that it can happen.

“I think it’s incredibly encouraging to see North Dakota win Miss America. I think it gives hope to those smaller states like the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, states that don’t primarily win Miss America, and I would not be surprised at all to see an increase in contestants this next year,” Dee said.

The new Miss America is an Ivy League college graduate and was accepted into Notre Dame’s law school. She says it defies the stigma that the competition is all about beauty and no brains.

“Now, it’s more about who you are on the inside, what you do for others through your platform and through your philanthropy, and who you are in the classroom,” said Dee.

Dee says Miss South Dakota 2017 Miranda Mack (pictured right) made the state incredibly proud. She just arrived back home Monday after competing in Atlantic City all last week.


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