Nicole Renard spent most of her life striving for the opportunity to become Miss America.
A former Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen, Miss Washington Outstanding Teen, Miss City of Orange, Miss Rainier, the Kamiakin High School graduate has added another title to her list — Miss Washington.
On Aug. 29, she will board a plane to take her shot at the national title.
Her dream started when she was 6 years old, when she joined the Miss Tri-Cities Little Sisters program.
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“Growing up I saw so many of these young women in these programs, and they were such good role models,” she said.
She began pursuing her dream in 2010, when she became Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen. She earned the title of Miss Washington Outstanding Teen a year later.
The scholarship money she won helped her earn a bachelor’s degree in communication from Chapman University, a private school located in Orange, Calif.
“I have learned so much,” she said. “It has allowed me to graduate debt-free. I know how to interview for a job. I’m able to speak on stage and talk to other people. These things are irreplaceable. Those are things that you can’t get from any other program.”
She continued to compete, earning an additional title as Miss City of Orange before moving back to Kennewick.
She now lives in Puyallup, in an apartment provided by the Miss Washington program.
This whole program is about empowering women.
Nicole Renard, Miss Washington
She earned a shot at the Washington state title by becoming Miss Rainier. The open title is not tied to a location and any eligible woman can compete.
Renard was the top placing contestant of three Tri-City women who earned spots in the contest in the beginning of July. Miss Apple Valley, Reagan Rebstock, placed third and Miss Tri-Cities, Tayler Plunkett, earned a spot in fourth place.
“We’re really proud of all of them,” said Dot Stewart, the executive director of Miss Tri-Cities Scholarship Program.
The competition was exciting and stressful, Renard said.
“It was very refreshing to feel like all of my hard work paid off,” she said. “I’m continuing my preparation. I have a lot of mock interviews to do. I have a lot of paperwork to finish before I compete.”
She also is making appearances, including a trip to visit young women in the Miss Tri-Cities programs on Monday. She dedicated to journal her experience as Miss Washington in a series of YouTube videos, called AppleTube.
In her first video, she promises to make every day of her time as Miss Washington count.
“I want to make sure every day counts in the way I prepare, in the way I treat people in my life and how I get ready for this goal of mine,” she said.
If she wins the competition, she will spend the year as Miss America. If she doesn’t, she will return to continue her work as Miss Washington.
Her platform is aimed at teaching children they should not base their self worth on their successes or failures.
Everyone has value, and when people realize that they are not afraid to fail and are more willing to pursue their goals, she said.
She said the Miss America program reaches dozens of women who never get a crown.
“This whole program is about empowering women,” she said.