Someone You Should Know: Miss South Dakota USA

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – An SDSU student is taking home a big win. Over the weekend, Abby Merschman was crowned Miss South Dakota USA. The 22-year-old conquered the swimsuit, evening wear, and interview portions of the fierce competition. However, she’s had to tackle much bigger hurdles on her way to the competition.

When you ask Abby what makes her happy, her answer might surprise you: furniture. She’s a digital specialist at Montgomery’s, a furniture store.  Now, she has a new title to add to her resume. She’s Miss South Dakota USA.

“I could be Miss USA,” said Abby. “Ugh, it’s crazy. I can’t even believe I’m going to Miss USA.”

Sparkling pageants weren’t always the plan. In fact, this was Abby’s first pageant ever. She decided to give it a shot last minute.

“It’s the kind of thing where you look back and like the dots connected,” said Abby. “It makes sense now.”

However, Abby is used to competition. Abby actually won first runner up in a singing and acting competition in LA. She was all set to move out to Lala Land earlier this year, but at the last minute, a change of plans.

“I actually got diagnosed with a disorder called endometriosis,” said Abby.

None of this was part of Abby’s stage dreams, but with the new diagnosis, the Iowa native decided to stay close to family.

“I really just had to look myself and in the mirror and say, ‘you do not feel the best,’ said Abby. “I mean, the first few months of surgery, treatment, and pain – it was tough.”

However, Abby says this put her on her dream path. Staying in South Dakota landed her a job that she says is her calling. She says the role gave her the self-esteem to give this pageant a try, and win.

“Well I just practiced walking in heels and then confidence,” said Abby. “Confidence is the main thing.”

Now, she wants to use to her platform to promote women’s health.

“The doctors I was working with didn’t take my symptoms 100 percent seriously and there are times that I think that women just kind of need to put their put down and say, ‘I really don’t feel right,’” said Abby.

In order to tell the judges who you are, you need to know who you are.

“Fully embracing yourself, I really learned who I was as a person,” said Abby.

Abby make off her crown and sash at the end of the day, but she can’t be stripped of her unshakeable confidence.

Abby is finishing up her journalism degree from SDSU online. She doesn’t know when or where the Miss USA competition will be. However, she does have one big event on her calendar. She has her next big surgery in Saint Louis in two weeks.

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