For Emily Tinsman, the third time was the charm in her pursuit of the Miss Iowa crown.
But the 22-year-old Bettendorf native nearly did not compete this year.
“My thought was, 'I’m graduating, I’m going to have a job and I’m going to be in Europe with the Drake Choir touring Austria, Germany, France and Italy for 2½ weeks.'
“That was going to be my main focus, because going to Europe and traveling was an amazing opportunity,” she said.
It wasn’t until March that Tinsman decided she wanted to take one more shot at Miss Iowa.
In order to get there, she competed in what is known as sweeps, the final competition of the year in which anyone can compete to see if they can earn a spot in the Miss Iowa Pageant.
“By going through sweeps I didn’t take anything away from other girls,” Tinsman said. “I didn’t want to take scholarship money away from other girls who were going to put in the time.”
By winning sweeps, she didn’t get any scholarship money, but she did get a ticket to be in Miss Iowa, competing as Miss Wild Rose.
After graduating from Drake, Tinsman was on a plane to Europe. She returned to the Quad-Cities on Thursday, June 6, three days before Miss Iowa week began June 9. There would be three days of competition, June 13-15 at the Adler Theater in Davenport.
“My goal at the end of the day was to be in the top five, because I’ve never made the top five before,” Tinsman said. “I’ve won the preliminary talent and made the top 10 the past two years.
“I didn’t go into it feeling a lot of pressure,” she said. “I had a really good mindset going into Miss Iowa because I had other things occupying my brain. I just went into it with an open mind knowing that if it’s my time it’s my time and if not, OK.
“I was OK with this being my last year competing before I’m a full-fledged adult with a career I can’t jump in and out of, so I just let the chips fall where they may,” she added.
Tinsman said she was excited to make the top five as her goal was met. When she made it to the final two, her thought, was “this could actually happen.”
Tinsman got into the pageant scene when her freshman roommate at Drake, who had competed in the Miss USA system, got Tinsman involved in the online pageant company Pageant Planet. Tinsman ran the social media while at the same time developing marketing skills and learning about social media.
“I thought, ‘I should probably compete in a pageant,” Tinsman said.
So, in her sophomore year, Tinsman competed for Miss Polk County in 2017, “and I lost really badly.” She then competed for Miss Cedar Valley which covers the Cedar Rapids area, and she won that competition and competed in the Miss Iowa Pageant for the first time.
“My first year I came into it just for the experience and to have fun,” Tinsman said of the Miss Iowa Pageant. “I knew I was the underdog, and that my chances were pretty slim, but I had so much fun.
“The following year I thought I really want to do this and I put my best foot forward I worked really hard,” she said.
This year, with so much going on in her life, Tinsman said it was easy to just be herself and let the crown land where it may.
Tinsman is looking forward to traveling the state pushing her platform known as TEMPOS, Teach and Encouraging Music Participation in Our Schools.
A music education major at Drake and a classical vocal performer, Tinsman had to put a job on hold teaching in Des Moines to accept the Miss Iowa crown.
But this way, she said, “I can spend the year reaching more children, their parents and teachers.”
In addition to representing the State of Iowa for a year, Tinsman will compete in the Miss America Pageant that will be televised Dec. 19 on NBC. The winner of the pageant will be crowned Miss America for 2020.
But if people haven’t noticed, people need to learn about Miss America 2.0, she said.
“Miss America and the pageants leading up to Miss America such as the Miss Iowa Pageant are all about scholarship,” Tinsman said. “We no longer have swimsuit-fitness and no longer is evening gown walking around in a pretty dress.
“The focus is now placed on scholarship, your talent, your people skills and your ability to be personable and communicate,” she said. “It’s about showing confidence and showcasing your social impact initiative, your platform and what you plan to do in your community to advocate for that platform.”
While many people think it’s all a beauty pageant, Tinsman said, it’s really a lot of hard work in competing for a lot of scholarship money.
Tinsman, for instance, earned a $10,500 scholarship that she can use for graduate school, in addition to being crowned Miss Iowa.
“It is a lot of mental stress,” Tinsman said. “It is a lot of time practicing your talent. It is a lot of time reading and studying current events.
“But I think just getting yourself to actually believe in yourself is the hardest part,” she said.
As for her competition, Tinsman said, “it was tough. We had a lot of genuinely good people in my class that would have represented Iowa the way Iowa should be represented.”
As for what she plans to accomplish, “I just really hope I can make as big of a positive impact as possible,” she said.
“It’s only one year of my life, but it is a year in which anything is possible and I’m really excited for the chance to do all sorts of things,” Tinsman said.
And come the end of that year, she said, “The sky’s the limit.”