By Alyssa Weston
A 2018 graduate from Youngstown State University was crowned Miss Ohio USA 2020.
Stephanie Marie Miranda, originally from Puerto Rico, earned a Bachelor of Arts in communications and said her experiences at YSU helped shape her into the pageant queen she is today.
“I think my communications major definitely helped me just get loose and really find out who I am in my voice when it comes to talking to other people,” she said. “But with all the skills that I learned from going to class and really focusing on my degree really helped me develop my voice and who I am up on the stage
According to Miranda, following pageants is huge in Puerto Rican culture, and she’s aspired to be on the Miss USA stage from a young age.
“At the end of the day, it’s still me. Each time I won a specific title or specific crown, it’s still Stephanie. I want to continue that even with [Miss] Ohio USA,” she said.
Miranda’s tactic for a successful pageant is to not view the other competitors as competition and to focus on self-improvement.
“The competition is you. You always want to do better than you’ve ever done in any other competition or any day of your life,” she said.
Miranda’s platform is focused on bringing awareness to Alzheimer’s disease, which affects Miranda personally because her grandmother suffers from the illness.
“People who know the person [with Alzheimer’s disease] is who really suffers because they see that their loved one completely gone. It’s actually called the disease that takes the human soul because the human is literally physically perfectly fine, but the brain is just not there anymore,” she said.
Miranda stressed the importance of keeping your mind moving at a young age.
“This generation is so focused on social media and things like that that they don’t understand that the most beautiful thing you can have is your brain,” she said.
In 2019, women of color simultaneously held the titles of Miss Universe, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA for the first time in history. Miranda said as a Latina, giving minority women a national platform is important to showcase different cultures.
“Being able to just represent my culture on the stage is one of the things that makes me even more proud of being on that stage. I love my culture to death. I take it wherever I go,” she said. “It’s so beautiful to see [different cultures] on the stage of Miss USA and having everybody looking up to all the girls and saying, ‘Well, if she can do it, then I can do it too.’”
Adam Earnheardt, chair of the Department of Communication, said the department is “Y and Proud” of Miranda’s success.
“A big part of these competitions focuses on presentation skills. Stephanie has a lot of natural charisma and charm, but she honed her presentation skills in YSU’s communication courses and in her work with pageant coaches and advisers,” he said.
Miranda will compete in the 69th annual Miss USA pageant during the spring of 2020, but an official date has not been announced.