BOUNTIFUL– The real Miss America pageant is too big for TV.
Bountiful native Kara Arnold, the current Miss Utah, is in Las Vegas right now participating in the week-long competition meant to determine the final 15 contestants. That last round will air Saturday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. on ABC 4, right after a special 20/20 episode highlighting Arnold and the other 49 contestants.
“All of the girls switch around,” said Jerry Arnold, Kara’s father. “A third of the girls get interviewed by the judges one night, then they switch and do their talent another night. There’s a lot she has to do.”
Arnold, who was crowned this past June, has already done a lot. Though she was accepted to medical school at the University of Utah this past spring, she decided to put it off for a year to focus on increasing students’ interest in science and technology education.
“I pretty much grew up doing science experiments,” Kara Arnold told the Clipper soon after she was crowned. “I feel like I’ve been unofficially promoting science my whole life, and I felt like I could be a role model for kids.”
Her platform as Miss Utah focuses on the acronym STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She’s met with Governor Herbert to talk about science education in Utah, and worked with state senators to make science-based educational videos for students.
She’s also appeared at local schools, performing science experiments during assemblies meant to introduce students to the most interesting aspects of the field.
“She throws on the sash when she goes to the schools, and the kids just listen to her,” said Jerry Arnold. “She’s been such an influence.”
The family flew out to Las Vegas earlier this week to watch Kara during the rest of the competition. Even if she doesn’t make it into the final 15, all 50 contestants are onstage for part of the final round.
“She’s stressed, nervous, excited Р pretty much all of the emotions,” said Jerry Arnold.
Even if she doesn’t win, however, he said that his daughter plans on making her time as Miss Utah count.
“When she started this, she thought she’d gain a lot of the things that would make her a better person,” he said. “She’s grown in so many ways.”
The 20/20 special will air at 7 p.m. in Utah, followed immediately by the final round of the Miss America pageant. For more information about Arnold and the other 49 contestants, visit missamerica.org.