Onstage question is one of the most nerve-wracking parts of competition – both for contestants and for viewers. This year’s Miss America questions definitely lived up to that expectation, featuring several controversial questions that were sure to leave viewers on the edge of their seats. Let’s take a look at how the Top 5 contestants handled their questions. (Read: How to Answer Hard Pageant Interview Questions)
Top 5 Onstage Questions and Answers from Miss America 2018
5. Miss Missouri 2017, Jennifer Davis
Question: “There are multiple investigations into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia on the election. Well, did they? You’re the jury: guilty or innocent? And please explain your verdict.”
Answer: “Right now, I would have to say innocent, because not enough information has been revealed. We are still investigating this and I think we should investigate it to its fullest extent. And if we do find the evidence that they have had collusion with Russia, then they should — the justice system should do their due diligence and they should be punished accordingly.”
Jennifer Davis stated her opinion clearly AND backed it up with reasoning – a must for any controversial question. She could have wrapped up her answer more strongly, but overall, had a well-worded answer. No wonder she earned the spot of 1st Runner-up to Miss America!
4. Miss Texas 2017, Margana Wood
Question: “Last month, a demonstration of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent and a counter protester was killed. The president said there was shared blame with ‘very fine people’ on both sides. Were there? Tell me yes or no and explain.” (Read: Pageant Question About Charlottesville Violence)
Answer: “I think that the white supremacist issue, it was very obvious that it was a terrorist attack. And I think that President Donald Trump should have made a statement earlier addressing the fact and making sure all Americans feel safe in this country, that is the number one issue right now.”
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Margana, you have to give her props for being so fearlessly honest. However, she did not technically answer the question. She should have addressed the people involved directly since the question is asking whether there were “very fine people” on both sides. She can still state a clear opinion but should have directed her opinion toward the specific question she was dealing with.
3. Miss North Dakota 2017 (and our Miss America 2018), Cara Mund
Question: “One hundred ninety-five countries signed the Paris Agreement, in which each country sets nonbinding goals to reduce man-made climate change. The U.S. is withdrawing from the agreement, citing negligible environmental effects and negative economic impact. Good decision? Bad decision? Which is it and why?” (Read: Pageant Question About the Paris Agreement)
Answer: “I do believe it’s a bad decision. Once we reject that, we take ourselves out of the negotiation table and that’s something that we really need to keep in mind. There is evidence that climate change is existing, so whether you believe it or not, we need to be at that table and I think it’s just a bad decision on behalf of the United States.”
Cara stated her opinion right away and showed she had knowledge about the agreement. She gives great reasoning and was confident, which sealed the deal on the crown for her. Congratulations on becoming the new Miss America, Cara!
2. Miss New Jersey 2017, Kaitlyn Schoeffel
Question: “A recent poll found slightly over half of Americans favored leaving Confederate statues in place, while others want them removed. Keep them or get rid of them? What’s your vote and why?”
Answer: “I don’t think that the answer is to get rid of these statues. I think the answer is to relocate them into museums because we are truly defined by our country’s history and I don’t think it’s something that we need to forget. We need to always remember it and honor our history of America because it truly makes us who we are as Americans. So they should be moved to museums.”
Why relocate the statues? Kaitlyn states her opinion but does not fully explain it. Her answer is full of restatements where she could have taken the time to better lay out her thoughts. However, she does choose a clear side which is valuable and important during the onstage question.
1. Miss District of Columbia 2017, Briana Kinsley
Question: “Given the evidence that concussions from playing football can cause brain damage, would you support legislation that outlaws full-contact football in elementary and high school? Yes or no, and why?”
Answer: “I do believe that I would. As someone who wants to go into the medical profession, I know how important it is to keep our kids safe so that they can have a quality education. And when they’re getting to high school and they’re playing these sports, they’re able to do so at the best of their ability and they’re not limited because they chose to play football at a young age.”
Props to Briana for making her answer personal! That is always a plus when answering the onstage question. My one recommendation would be to cut out the “I do believe” at the beginning of the answer. It makes her seem less confident in her opinion. However, this was a solid answer overall.
Overall, the Top 5 contestants did an impressive job handling a set of questions focused heavily on controversial topics and current events. Although the onstage question is a scary part of pageants for many contestants, staying confident, clear and articulate is the key to nailing any answer.