Braden Auditorium • Illinois State University
Host Hotel: Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
Jennifer Vannatta-Fisher / Co-Executive Director
Hello, and welcome to our web site! I was Miss Kansas (America) 1998, and can tell you first hand that being a part of pageants is a rewarding and life changing experience. During my year as Miss Kansas, I had the honor of traveling throughout the state meeting with many interesting and wonderful people. Looking back, I realize that my year as Miss Kansas will always be one of the most dynamic and positive experiences in my life. However, I also realize that even if I had never won the actual title, I would still be a stronger, more confident, self-assured, and goal oriented person simply as a result of my participation in pageants. I truly believe in the personal growth and individual development that is cultivated by ones participation in pageants.
Prior to winning the title of Miss Kansas, I worked as a television anchor and producer. As my year began to draw to a close, I had to decide if I would re-enter the world of journalism, or pursue other opportunities. I decided to join the staff of Vanbros and Associates, Inc. The reasons were simple. First, I love pageants, and believe in the opportunities they offer young women. Second, I enjoy working with others, and I gain personal satisfaction from knowing I’ve helped make a difference in the lives of others. It may sound cliché, but it truly is a blessing to watch our contestants blossom into confident young women, and to know that our pageant helped them to find direction and success. Finally, I decided to become involved in this pageant because I believe in its directors. You see, the directors are my brothers John and Jason.
Vanbros became involved in the MISS USA & MISS TEEN USA pageants over 24 years ago. They began as the director for Kansas, and later became the director for Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arkansas and Illinois. Vanbros has taken more than 100 women to the national MISS USA & MISS TEEN USA competitions. Under his direction, our states have become regulars in the top-15 and top-5. There have even been five national winners. However, Vanbros is most proud of the 'post-pageant' real-life successes enjoyed by the titleholders and the contestants who write to thank us for their experience. You can read some of the testimonials at www.vanbros.com.
The focus of Vanbros from the beginning, is for this program to provide a fair environment in which young women have the opportunity to better themselves. We hope the pageant encourages the contestants to gain self-awareness, self-confidence, individual pride, and greater social awareness. We hope each contestant improves her ability to communicate effectively, speak in front of people, and stand up for her beliefs. We encourage our contestants to find issues she feel's strongly about, and to become involved in organizations and causes that speak to her heart. Each young lady who enters this program has different goals, and we strive hard to assist each young woman in her own personal quest.
Regardless of what your future career plans are, this is an environment that can open many exciting doors. Each year, career connections are made by contestants during their pageant experience! Or, maybe you have not decided yet on a future career path. That’s okay too because maybe this experience will help you find something you want to do with your life. This could even be your chance to get "discovered!" It’s happened to many young women before!
We're especially proud of the fact that many contestants each year have never been in a pageant and they find it to be a rewarding and worthwhile experience. Many have won on their first attempt, and many others return because it was a positive experience. We like to believe that each young woman who participates in our pageant leaves a little more prepared to deal with the world around them, and more importantly, the world ahead of them! Basically, our philosophy for the MISS ILLINOIS USA & MISS ILLINOIS TEEN USA Pageant is not about encouraging young women to ‘win’ a pageant, but to encourage excellence in young women, and to help them develop life skills that will ultimately help them win in life by being the best they can be in everything they do.
The winners of our State Pageant will each embark on an exciting journey, and receive a prize package including cash, wardrobe, and travel. They will also receive a scholarship offered through our partnership with Lindenwood University. Our state Teen and Miss winner will receive a Lindenwood scholarship worth $5,000 per year. Not only the winners benefit from this positive experience, or from our scholarship program. Runners-up in our State Pageant will receive Lindenwood scholarships valued at $3,000 per year. Semifinalists in our State Pageant will receive a Lindenwood scholarship valued at $3,000 per year. Also, EVERY young woman who participates in our State Pageant, Teen and Miss divisions, will be offered a Lindenwood scholarship valued at $1,500 per year!
While our program places an emphasis on excellence, achievement, and personal growth, we also strive to make the pageant experi-ence FUN! The pageant is a four day event, and will be held September 1-4, 2017.
The winner of MISS ILLINOIS USA will advance to the nationally televised MISS USA Pageant, and the winner of the MISS ILLINOIS TEEN USA title will advance to the MISS TEEN USA Pageant. Should MISS ILLINOIS USA go on to win MISS USA, she would then advance to the ultimate contest... the internationally televised MISS UNIVERSE Pageant.
Each Contestant will compete in three equal phases of preliminary competition: athletic wear/swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. The scores from the preliminary phases of competition are added up, and the contestants with the highest composite scores become semifinalists. The number of semifinalists will be between 10 and 15, and will be determined by the total number of contestants in the competition.
Scoring is based on the following:
- Athletic Wear/Swimsuit: each contestant is evaluated on her physical fitness, stage-presence, and overall impression.
- Evening Gown: each contestant is evaluated on grace, poise, style, stage presence, the confidence with which she carries herself, and overall-impression.
- Interview: preliminary interviews are personal one-on-one style. You will have four minute interviews with each of the five judges. Its very comfortable and conversational. Contestants are scored on their communication skills, and personality. They are NOT scored on their opinions or personal beliefs. Once the semifinalists are announced during the final show, they will again compete in swimsuit and evening gown. These two phases of competition will narrow the field to a group of five finalists.
The top-5 will then each have an on-stage interview. The interview will be conducted by the emcee. She will ask them a question submitted by a fellow contestant and one submitted by a judge. The interview will end with one randomly selected question unrelated to their bio, and submitted prior to the show by either the panel of judges or the contestants. After the top-5 interviews, the judges will make the final rankings based on their overall impression of each contestant. The judges will select a winner, 1st runner-up, 2nd runner-up, 3rd runner-up, and 4th runner-up in each age group.
Each contestant will need rehearsal clothing (sweats, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, etc.), and a business casual outfit for registration. The required competition and stage wardrobe is as follows:
- Private Interview: An outfit that represents your personality and you feel comfortable wearing. This can range from casual to business oriented, but something you would find in your own closet.
- Athletic Wear (TEEN): You will be competing in athletic wear as opposed to swimwear this year. You will need an athletic style sports bra and may chose between compression pants and compression shorts. You can select any color or pattern. Reflect your personality. No customized text (your name or title) is allowed. Wear coordinating tennis or gym shoes.
- Swimsuit (MISS): Miss contestants may chose between one and two-piece suits. However, adequate coverage is required and no thongs are allowed. Swimsuits may be any appropriate style, and design, and there are no color restrictions. Patterns and prints are also acceptable.
- Evening Gown: all contestants must have a full-length evening gown of their choice. The style, design, and color is up to you. It can be elaborate, or very simple. Choose something that makes you feel like Cinderella. Your gown should represent YOUR own personality and taste. Remember, you can look like a million bucks without spending a million bucks! Teens are encouraged to wear gowns that reflect a more youthful style and look than the Miss contestants.
- Opening Production Number: During this year’s opening number, we want to give each contestant a chance to show off their own personality, style, sense of fashion, and personal taste. The requirement for your selection is that the outfit must be ALL BLACK. You can select a simple black dress, a black pantsuit or jumpsuit, a black cocktail dress, black slacks with a black blouse, black rompers...pretty much anything (in good taste), except, NO FULL LENGTH EVENING GOWNS. You should accompany your outfit with Neutral or Black Heels. Your choice of accessories is up to you! Have fun!
How to Enter:
After reviewing all of the information on our Web site, if you have an interest in becoming a contestant, click on "Apply Today" above and follow the easy steps. There is NO fee required to apply. Once we receive your application, it will be reviewed by a selection committee. If your application is approved, you’ll be contacted by the pageant office. This truly could be the chance of a lifetime, so don’t delay, Apply Today!