Starting pageantry less than two years ago, Payton May, a 17-year-old from Vancouver, Washington was just crowned 2020 Miss America's Outstanding Teen pageant in Orlando, Florida.
"I started in pageants about less than two years ago and in the Miss America Organization, you have local preliminaries first, so I competed in my local, which is also called Miss Clark County Outstanding Teen and I ended up winning," said May.
The competition starts out with a personal interview with six or seven judges that accounts to 25 percent of the pageant queens score.
"10 percent of your score is scholastic achievement, 25 percent is evening wear and on-stage questions where they ask you a question in front of the entire audience and they judge you based on your ability to answer eloquently and in a thought out way and then of course your gown, which is the fun part," she said.
Then next is the talent section.
"Whether its dancing or singing, you perform your talents to the judges and then lastly there's the fitness competition where you get to show the judges how you live a healthy lifestyle and how you keep your mind and body healthy and active."
May is also the first person in Washington to win this amazing title.
"I'm actually the first person past Texas, so the entire west area of the United States!"
A part of winning the title means that May now has a platform, and she's looking to educate about social impact and politics.
"My platform is titled Your Voice Matters, Educating the Voters of Tomorrow. It's basically a social impact that each girl chooses to discuss and advocate for in the year of their service, so I'm really interested in politics and the political process and encouraging young adults to exercise their civic duty," said May. "I knew when I was creating my platform for pageants, I wanted it to be something surrounding that, and so with my year of service, I'm really hoping to lobby at congress and Washington D.C for the passing of multiple bills that would help eradicate or limit the amount of voter suppression that effects youth and young adults in our country. Then hopefully, my goal is to register 5,000 new voters this year."
So what does the future look like for May?
"I would really love to attend the University of California and I would like to major in political science and journalism on the pre-law track because honestly, I'm not sure of what kind of career path I want to go into. There's a lot of things that interest me and one of which is being a congresswomen, but I also really like broadcast journalism, so there's a lot of options for me."
Wherever she decides to go, May's top priority is making a difference.
"Ultimately, I just want to make the world a better place and I just want to use my talents and my skills to help others in whatever way I possibly can."