UAA student wins Miss Alaska USA

Aleah Scheick did not exercise before her competition in the 2005 Miss Alaska USA pageant. Between a summer trip to Italy and a full-time course load there was no time to sweat for the senior journalism major’s favorite part of the pageant.

“I like swimsuit. I think for a girl to get up there in a swimsuit and have the confidence to do that, it’s a lot of fun,” Scheick said.

A busy schedule might have kept her out of the gym, but it didn’t keep Scheick from winning the 2005 Miss Alaska title. Now that she’s won, Scheick won’t be resting on her laurels.

“I didn’t work out at all before this pageant but I definitely will be before Miss USA,” Scheick said.

Scheick will be preparing for her upcoming three-week competition for the Miss USA title in February, a chance that eluded her in last year’s Miss Alaska USA pageant. She made it into the top-five competitors, and said she left the pageant on a positive note and came back for another chance.

Now as Miss Alaska USA, Scheick has a chance to shine on a national stage. An Alaska winner hasn’t placed in the top 10 or been a finalist in the Miss USA pageant since 1990.

“I’m looking to break that streak,” Scheick said.

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Scheick delivered the top performances in the evening gown, swimsuit and interview portions of the Miss Alaska competition. She said the worst part of the pageant was the moment before the winners were announced.

“I was thinking I either had it or had nothing,” she said. “It was a big release when I won.”

Though the state competition took place over a weekend, Scheick said the preparations for the Miss USA title will set her back a semester in school. She won’t be taking a 19-credit course load in the spring as she had planned because the pageant will force her to miss three weeks of classes.

Interviews with the judges are a key portion of the Miss USA pageant because there is no talent competition.

Scheick said the Journalism and Public Communications department has helped give her a competitive edge in pageants. Scheick said her strongest point in the pageant is the interview because she likes talking to people. Her experience in public speaking, interviewing and broadcasting classes gave her the confidence to walk in front of the cameras and speak with confidence. Scheick said she hopes to employ those skills in her future career.

“Assuming the NHL gets up and going again I hope to be one of the first female broadcasters for hockey,” Scheick said.

Along with the title and a tiara, Scheick won a four-year, no credit-limit tuition waiver to UAA. While she’s close to a degree in broadcasting and telecommunications, Scheick will stick around to possibly pursue a second degree.

“I’m looking to do graphic design, probably, maybe just get some hands-on experience. You can’t just pass up four years of tuition,” she said.

Scheick has competed in pageants since her middle school years in Michigan. After two weeks in Alaska, Scheick decided to change her residency and compete for the Miss Alaska USA title.

“It’s been my goal to make it to the Miss USA pageant,” Scheick said. “This is the only way.”

There is a major difference in awareness throughout Alaska about beauty pageants as compared with the contiguous United States, Scheick said. Only 13 girls competed for the Miss Alaska USA title, while more than 200 young women compete annually for the title of Miss Michigan USA. In the states, there are pageants every weekend. Contestant numbers are much smaller in Alaska because pageants aren’t as well-known, Scheick said.

But smaller contestant numbers were not what lured her to Alaska.

“I wanted something different,” Scheick said.

Her brother was looking at schools in Alaska and brought a video home from APU. After Scheick saw the landscapes and scenery, she spent a year persuading her dad to let her attend school in Anchorage.

Because UAA has smaller average class sizes than Michigan State, Scheick has had more opportunities to develop the skills she plans to market someday.

“I’m very glad I came here because I’ve gotten so much hands-on experience. If I’d gone to Michigan State, I’d be lucky to get camera time as a senior,” Scheick said.

The three-week Miss USA competition will begin Feb. 1, 2005 in Baltimore, Maryland.