Last month, Danielle Hooper became the first Simley High School graduate to be named Miss Minnesota USA.
Now a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, Hooper will compete this June in the Miss USA competition, which will likely take place in Las Vegas.
Hooper said that, since winning, she’s heard from many Simley classmates and she’s preparing to film a segment for the school’s TV news program.
What’s next for you in the competition?
This year I will be representing the state, I’ll be doing appearances and charity events and things like that, and then I’ll also be representing Minnesota at the Miss USA pageant, which is usually the first week of June.
Have you been in any other pageants?
This is my third time. It’s always been with this system: I did the teen competition in 2010, and then I did Miss Minnesota last year. The first time I did it, I actually didn’t really want to do it. My mom forced me to because I was really, really shy, and she thought it would be a way to pull me out of my shell, and she was 100 percent correct. It totally did. I guess I got bitten by the bug that year and ever since then it’s just been my dream.
Did you need to prepare for the interview portion of the contest?
There’s an interview portion right before the preliminary competition, and it sounds [intimidating] because you’re going in there and speaking to the panel of judges. But the three times I’ve done it, I’ve always come out so happy. They’re really friendly, and they just want to get to know you and get to know your personality. It’s not like you’re being tested or anything.
They asked me what I’m studying and why, my favorite place I’ve traveled to, and about my dance background. My favorite place I traveled was when I visited Paris with just my grandma, and that was a really great experience because I got to know her better and explore a foreign country.
What was your reaction when you found out you won?
It was the most surreal moment ever. This is something that I always dreamed of and something I always knew I could do, but I didn’t think that it could ever actually happen, so when it did, it was just the craziest moment ever.
What do you think of Donald Trump [the co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization]?
I think Donald Trump is wonderful. He’s one of the most successful people in the world, so I respect him, and I’m very excited to meet him.
I did follow the presidential campaign closely, so I know he had a lot to say, but I’m not supposed to comment on anything too controversial.
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