Rapids native crowned Miss Oshkosh
BY MIKE WARREN
OSHKOSH — University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student, Taylor Swanson, has been crowned Miss Oshkosh 2023.
“I cried a lot,” Swanson told the City Times, during a March 6 interview. “I’ve been to a lot of pageants because of my sister, and whenever I see the person getting crowned there’s tears, and I know there’s going to be tears, but when I was crowned I was having a hard time controlling myself and getting myself composed because I knew there were a bunch of people taking pictures and I remembered not wanting to see a picture of me crying with my mouth open,” Swanson added. Taylor is the younger sister of Ryann Swanson, Miss Wisconsin Rapids 2017.
Along with the title, Swanson, 20, received a $3,500 scholarship during the March 4 Miss Oshkosh Scholarship Competition at Alberta Kimball Auditorium. Swanson competed against five other women for the title. She won the highest overall interview award and the Spirit of Miss America Award (Miss Congeniality), earning an additional $300 in scholarships.
“That’s why I started getting into it,” Swanson admits. “But, I honestly stayed because I enjoy developing my skills. I like being on stage. I think it’s super fun,” she adds.
Swanson is a third-year student at UW-Oshkosh majoring in psychology.
She is no stranger to pageants, but thinks she stood out for several reasons.
“I was the only Asian girl in, I think, all of the pageants I’ve been in. So that was one thing,” she says. “But another thing, I feel like I’m definitely Goth, and in pageants I don’t see that anywhere, and I really wanted to communicate that on stage with the way I dressed and how I did my makeup, so I think those two things combined definitely made me stand out.”
Swanson’s talent was a cello solo of “Sonata in C Major.”
“I prepared that piece in high school, and ever since then it’s been a very comfortable piece for me to play and perform,” Taylor says. “And with pageant, it’s more than just playing the music because I’m not allowed to have sheet music. I’ve got to be comfortable enough with it to perform it well, which is a very vulnerable thing for me to do, so that’s why I chose Sonata in C Major,” she adds.
Swanson’s social impact initiative is Mental Health Mindfulness. Swanson is excited to work with the community and encourage people of all ages to discuss mental health.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for mental health issues,” says Taylor. “I’ve also struggled with it myself. As a kid my mom struggled with mental health quite a bit. And as a kid I felt very unheard,” she says. “I struggled on my own, so I wanted to designate my social impact initiative about this so I could somehow help somebody else in a way and support other people in a way that I wish I was supported,” Swanson added.
Swanson will now compete at the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Competition for the title of Miss Wisconsin, June 21-24, also at the Alberta Kimball Auditorium in Oshkosh.
“I urge anyone out there that’s eligible to do pageants and be a part of the Miss America organization to do it because you learn a lot about yourself, getting comfortable with who you are, and I think that’s something that everybody needs to do and would benefit from,” Swanson added.
Taylor is a 2020 graduate of Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids. She is the daughter of Sonja Swanson.