A former Miss Kankakee Valley is still competing for the title of Miss America, but she isn’t just a pageant contestant – she’s also the co-director of the Miss Amazing Pageant, a pageant that aims to give girls and young women with disabilities the opportunity to build self-confidence in a supportive environment.
Sami Rife was Miss Kankakee Valley two years ago and she said she is now preparing for the Miss Ball State Pageant, which takes place today. Rife is hopeful for a victory, because if she wins, she can go on to the Miss Indiana Pageant in June and from there, Miss America.
Rife said she competes in these pageants to fund her education.
“I do the Miss America pageants because it’s a scholarship-based program. When I do these and when I compete, and I place or I get Miss Congeniality, I’m actually earning money to continue on with my education, and that program strongly believes in a firm foundation – that’s your education, being able to use that in your future,” said Rife.
Rife is also the co-director of the Miss Amazing Pageant, having taken the position on Wednesday. She said she loved her experience after she was a judge two years ago and she wanted to be involved as much as possible.
“I got involved a few years ago when I was Miss Kankakee Valley, and a friend approached me and she asked me to be a judge. From there, it just took off – I was so in love with the whole system, the idea of giving these girls that opportunity to shine like the stars that they are. It’s like they just needed to be uncovered, and you should see their faces light up, and that’s the most rewarding part,” Rife said.
After her time as a judge, Rife said she went on to emcee the event the following year. Becoming co-director, she said, was very unexpected.
“I just wanted to be involved as much as possible, so the next year I was the MC, and then I told them this year I wanted to help in any way possible, and surprisingly, they contacted me Wednesday about being a co-director, and it was hard to stay professional but I just wanted to scream and say yes, but you can’t really type that into an email. So there was a lot of caps and exclamation points in that email,” Rife said.
The Miss Amazing Pageant is scheduled for March 29 at Hannah and Friends in South Bend. Rife said the organization is focusing on their efforts to find sponsors and volunteers for the pageant and asks anyone who can donate their time or even a small amount of money to the pageant to visit missamazingpageant.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.