KSL: University of Utah graduate competing for Miss America

KSL News Specialist Brittany Tait met with Miss Utah 2018, Jesse Craig to talk about her journey to Miss America and reasons for participating in the Miss America Organization.

Read an excerpt of the story below:

SALT LAKE CITY — For Jesse Craig, competing on the Miss America stage has been a dream since she was 4 years old.

This week, that dream is becoming a reality.

“For me, it’s never been a beauty pageant,” the 22-year-old University of Utah graduate told KSL 5 TV. “I have learned it’s about the people. It’s fun to have a crown and wear a dress.

But at the end of the day, my job as a titleholder is to make someone else’s life better.”

Craig doesn’t use the word “job” lightly. She has already traveled across the state of Utah speaking and volunteering. Since participating in the Miss America Organization, she has volunteered more than 1,000 hours of community service.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Craig said. “When I started college, I was a commuter student. I felt disconnected, and I realized that disconnect was greatly attributed to the focus on myself.

“My generation has earned its title of the ‘selfie generation.’ We tend to be very focused on ourselves. My goal is to help young adults shift the focus to others, and therefore find human connection and happiness,” she said.

Craig implemented a platform called, “Get Up and Serve; Increasing Young Adult Involvement.” She is working with the Lieutenant Governor’s Service Commission to provide service opportunities for young adults.

When Craig was 15 years old, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. A surgeon performed a thyroidectomy, to prevent cancer from spreading.

“I call that the turning point in my life,” Craig said. “I didn’t want to waste a single day. I realized the future wasn’t guaranteed, and I wanted to be more involved. My health setback led me to the Miss America Organization.”

Craig said she had one supporter who knew exactly what it would take to win the state title.

Watch the story that aired on KSL 5 TV at KSL.com.