Being crowned Miss Ohio in a beauty pageant isn’t uncommon for Whitney Jenkins. In fact, she’s claimed that title twice already.
However, due to previous engagements in the past, Jenkins had never been able to compete in the National American Miss competition — the one pageant she really wanted the opportunity at conquering — until now.
On July 9, Jenkins was named National American Miss Ohio 2017.
“It’s really surreal,” Jenkins said. “When you’re walking out on stage in front of a bunch of people and you hear your name being called, you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is actually happening.’ I think it’s really cool because I’m a small town girl. I’m from McDermott. I went to school at Northwest High School. Now I’m being named Miss Ohio for National American Miss. It’s a really cool opportunity and experience.”
National American Miss is a pageant system dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders. Each year, the National American Miss pageants award $1.5 million in cash, scholarships, and prizes to recognize and assist the development of young women nationwide.
Jenkins will have an opportunity to win those prizes, which includes a Mustang Convertible, when she travels to to Hollywood during Thanksgiving week to compete in the national pageant.
The national pageant will consists of events such as a personal introduction, evening gown contest, personal interview and community service portion.
“If I was awarded that title, then I’d be traveling across the U.S. making appearances and doing events,” Jenkins said. “That would be absolutely incredible if that happened. It is overwhelming, but at the same time, I’m really excited because I know if I can win the state level, then maybe there’s a shot that I’m good enough to win at nationals.”
Jenkins will be heading to the national competition with no pre-set expectations.
“I would love to bring home the national title, but as long as I have fun and do my best, that’s all I can ask for out of myself,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins is also eager to represent Scioto County as Miss Ohio.
“With these bigger pageant systems, someone winning from southern Ohio is completely unheard of,” Jenkins said. “It’s cool for me to be able to say I’m Miss Ohio and I’m from Portsmouth. Yeah, I won, but it’s not about me, it’s about the whole community. It’s kind of cool to be able to put our town on the map.
“There’s an excitement to be able to tell people where Portsmouth is and where I come from, and how Portsmouth helped shape me into who I am today. To be able to say Portsmouth has played a huge contribution into why I’m Miss Ohio, I think that’ll be really cool.”
Before she heads to California, Jenkins has several commitments as part of her stature as Miss Ohio.
“This upcoming year, I’ll be traveling across the state and entering a bunch of parades, and meeting with a lot of government officials,” Jenkins said. “We’re actually going to be doing the Cincinnati Reds’ parade. We’re going to kind of be the guest of honor at that baseball game. A lot of interesting stuff coming up.”