FARMINGTON HILLS — Makayla McCoskey, 20, is a real-life princess.
The lifelong Farmington Hills resident earned her crown in June during a 2013 Miss Oakland County Scholarship Program — a preliminary to the Miss Michigan and Miss America pageants.
“I always looked up to Miss Oakland County as my real-life, hometown Miss America — my real-life Disney princess,” McCoskey, a University of Michigan – Ann Arbor pre-med student said. “That was honestly what inspired me to start getting involved in this organization, to be able to compete this year for Miss Oakland County, and to be able to now represent them — the coolest thing I could imagine.”
McCoskey, who won a $1,000 scholarship, told the Press that since she started competing in pageants, she has won more than $3,000 in scholarships. She was crowned Miss Mid-Michigan earlier in January.
“I’ve won scholarships that are helpful for paying for school,” she said.
The 2013 Miss Oakland County Scholarship Program was held July 13 at the Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile Road.
The Miss Oakland County Scholarship Program is a not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a platform to express their opinions, talents and intelligence, according to the organization’s website.
Francesca Tuzzolino, executive director of the Miss Oakland County Scholarship Program, said the judges look for a specific set of qualities — including confidence, personality, stage presence and exceptional speaking skills — when selecting a winner as Miss Oakland County.
Tuzzolino said McCoskey seems like a “very nice girl.”
“I’m really excited to work with her next year,” for the June 2014 Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant, Inc. competition in Muskegon, she said. “She seems great and wonderful already.”
McCoskey said one of her platforms she focused on during the pageant was Unite for Sight, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit global health delivery organization.
“(Eye care) is so often overlooked when people think of health care,” she said. “As a future physician … my dream career would be an ophthalmologist.”
She said that for the upcoming year, she wants to go into classrooms and give presentations to students on eye care, preventative measures and proper eye-care tips.
McCoskey’s mother, Julie Smith McCoskey, said her daughter has been around the spirit of volunteerism her whole life.
“She has been raised in an environment where we believe in helping those around us that are less fortunate, and doing whatever we can to help other people,” Smith McCoskey said. “This (pageant win) is pretty much an extension of all the community service she has done since she was little.”
McCoskey said winning Miss Oakland County has been a full circle moment for her, especially growing up in a household where the family would attend pageants.
“The first thing that popped into my head (when I won) was, ‘Oh my gosh, Miss Oakland County,’” she said. “And I like flashbacked to the first memory I had of coming to watch the pageants and thinking: That is me now.”
In June, not even one day into her position as Miss Oakland County, McCoskey already gave back to an adoring community member.
“One of the daughters of the emcee … comes running out — and I guess she had a lot of tinsel in her hands and sparkles — and she throws them in the air and goes, ‘Miss America!’” McCoskey said. “And she got her picture taken with me and was asking about what the pageant was like, and was I going to be Miss America one day.”
McCoskey added that she frequently has similar conversations with others, but that one stuck with her.
“That was the first one after I was crowned,” she said. “Those are the moments that really remind me (of) why I am involved in this organization.”
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