Shondiin Mayo represents Fairbanks in 2023 Miss Alaska competition
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Fairbanks is sending Shondiin Mayo to Anchorage this year to compete in the 2023 Miss Alaska event.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Mayo.
She was born and raised in Stevens Village along the Yukon River, moving to Fairbanks in the 3rd grade.
Her journey began as a teenager, when she watched Alyssa London compete in 2017. ”It was when she was on the pageant stage and she unveiled her Tlingit-designed dress on stage on a national level that I was like, ‘Wow’, because she was not only proud of her heritage, but she was so comfortable sharing that with other people.”
Now, at 23, it’s her turn. Starting early last year, Mayo began laying the groundwork for her entry. “I was strategic about it in the way that I was asking for people’s help and support, and preparing that way, I think I’ve been really able to wrap my mind around the pageant.”
To get ready for the pageant, Mayo has had to prepare a glamorous wardrobe. She has also undergone training, both physical and mental. “You have to practice your interview, which is actually the biggest part of the competition, so I’ve been really practicing ‘How do you connect with an audience and how do you share your story?’”
The competition includes a swimsuit portion. “I’m telling my family and friends to like shield their eyes when it comes about because, especially as a native person, it’s kind of, you don’t really walk around in a swimsuit on a stage in front of people with a light on you.”
If chosen to wear the crown, Mayo says she wants to use media to better represent rural Alaska and the challenges faced by the people living there. She said, “I grew up in a rural community, and shedding light on that is something that I would love to do with this platform.”
Mayo also studies rural development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
To her, competing in Miss Alaska means “you can really step into your confidence, but also be authentic about it.”
The contest will take place in Anchorage on January 13 and 14. To compete in Miss Alaska a contestant must be between 18 and 17 years old. More qualifications and information can be found on the Miss Alaska USA website.
Mayo is holding a free, public send-off event to thank her supporters on Friday, January 6 at Doyon, Ltd.
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