Miss Dowagiac 2023 ready to represent community

Published 2:07 pm Monday, January 30, 2023

DOWAGIAC — It was a weekend to remember for Amelia Jones. 

The Dowagiac Union senior was crowned Miss Dowagiac 2023 Saturday at Dowagiac Middle School.

A day after the ceremony, Jones sat down for an interview with Leader Publications and reflected on her achievement. 

Congratulations on being crowned Miss Dowagiac 2023. What have the last several hours been like for you?

Hectic, but it’s also been super duper fun. I really didn’t expect it to go by this fast. I thought it would be more stressful, but all of us girls have been talking about how much of an out of body experience it is. It’s just like a more stressful practice.

When they announced her name and you were crowned, what were some of the emotions going through your head?

Shock. I’m pretty sure that was the only one for a good long while. My face was already smiling because all of us couldn’t stop smiling; the muscles were just there. Once I actually realized what was happening, it was still shock and then also extreme joy but then also panic, and it was just a little bit of everything. I was looking around making sure that I wasn’t dreaming it up.

What does being crowned Miss Dowagiac mean to you?

Personally, it means a lot. I went into it with not a lot of self esteem. I didn’t really count myself as one of the possible winners. All of us girls had already had our personal top five picked out and I was not in my personal top five, so getting the crown was a huge deal, especially considering the fact that the girls and I – we’ve been through so much and it’s awesome. I feel like it’s a dream come true.

If you could maybe impart some advice to the younger generation, what would you say to them in light of your Miss Dowagiac experience?

You’ll never know if you don’t try. I wasn’t going to do it originally and it was my friends, who through them doing it, I was like ‘okay, well if they’re going then I will too’ because I love an opportunity to hang out with my friends more because we’re so busy. If you put yourself out of your comfort zone, if you take the risk, then the payoff could be amazing. But you have to be willing to put yourself out there.

Reading the contestant bios and watching your interactions on stage, it became clear that most of you are really good friends outside of this. What was this pageant experience like with all of you being supportive friends while also vying for the crown?

It was strange, at first. I don’t think any of us really saw it as a contest for a while. It was more of just us hanging out learning how to be you know this elegant figurehead for the community. Once we actually got towards the fact that we were supposed to be viewing each other as “competition,” it still wasn’t there. There’s a bad stereotype about pageant girls where it’s like “we must get the crown,” but with all of us being such tight knit friends and all of us being so involved mostly in the same activities, I knew I was going to be happy either way and all of the other girls genuinely said they would be too. It takes so much of the stress and it makes the win that much better because I know everyone that I care about is happy for me and I’m happy for them.

What are you most looking forward to during your reign? 

Definitely getting to know the community members better. I can’t wait to participate in all of the events, especially because the town I live in is Marcellus. I’ve always had to go to the festivals and stuff because Dowagiac is the only place that really has those big festivals. When I first went to the winter festival, I was amazed – it seemed like something out of a Hallmark movie. This town brought me those experiences that I wouldn’t have. They have the dance studios, they have the beautiful Christmas shops and everything else. Now I get to be a part of that experience.

I’m hoping that if I make an appearance somewhere, they’ll look at me and they’ll be like “Oh my gosh, Dowagiac” and I hope they get inspired to be more involved in the community because it’s a great one.