Erin O’Connor, Miss Illinois, Wise Beyond Her Years
This interview appears on the Character Counts, Character Educator Blog. Here in the College of Fine Arts and Communication, we have all known Erin for her talent and her beauty. But this interview, like Erin’s other interviews, reveals just how wise this 22 year-old is. The department of theatre and dance is lucky to have great students and Erin is one of them. Read more of her interview on the Character Educator Blog.
Miss Illinois Steps Up to CC
Most beauty pageant contestants begin competing as early as age 5, but 22-year-old Erin O’Connor has competed in only three in her life – and won two. In March 2009, she entered the Miss Macomb pageant as a way to spread awareness of skin cancer prevention in honor of her mother who succumbed of melanoma. Three months later she won the Miss Illinois crown, qualifying her for the 2010 Miss America competition in which she failed to place in the top 15.
In addition to her Miss Illinois win, her “Take Care: Skin Cancer Education and Prevention” platform earned her a community service award from the Miss Illinois Scholarship Association.
After her Miss Illinois reign ends, O’Connor hopes to complete her degree in theater and dance from Western Illinois University and then pursue a master’s in fine arts.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about beauty pageants,” she told the Southtown Star. It’s not just a beauty competition. It’s about spreading the spirit of volunteerism and making yourself a better person. I have a quote from Shakespeare: ‘To thine own self be true.’ It might sound so cliché, but I live by it.”