Last Saturday, Marybeth Noonan, 20, of Raymond, was selected as Miss Maine to represent her home state at the Miss American Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Sunday, September 11. The pageant was held at McAuley High School in Portland.
“I’m super excited and ready. This was my time. Last year was the first time I competed. I knew I wasn’t quite ready. It wasn’t my time. This year was,” Noonan said.
Noonan has been competing in pageants since age 13 and has won titles in four previous events including Miss Maine’s Outstanding Teen, also run by the Miss America Organization. She is currently enrolled at Lyndon State College in the electronic journalism arts department and would like to be an on air news reporter or anchor when she is finished with school. She did an internship at Channel 6 this past semester.
Within 48 hours of winning the Maine title she had sent information off to the national Miss America pageant and had been called by the reigning Miss America. Noonan is the first state winner for the 2017 class. For one week, she is the only person registered for the national title. New Hampshire names their representative on Saturday.
“It’s exciting,” said her father Tom Noonan. “She has the opportunity to represent Maine at the Miss America pageant.”
Noonan has three goals for her reign as Miss Maine. One is to “really stand out at Miss America.” Two is to recruit more girls to the program, which is the largest scholarship program for women awarding millions of dollars annually in cash awards and in-kind tuition waivers each year. Her third goal is to “Be the voice”, which will fundraise for childhood cancer research and providing assistance to families affected by the disease. When in high school, Noonan went to school with a boy, Josh Perry-Hall who is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “Seeing how tough it is to have cancer is one thing, but to be a kid, trying to figure out fitting in and homework…add to that a life threatening disease is one of the most malicious things that can happen,” she said.
At age 14, Noonan opened a “Rent-a-Princess” business, where she would show up to birthday parties dressed as a princess. She added a charitable component to that often visiting Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and Camp Sunshine raising money to help her platform.
“Even though I can make their day, I can’t make them better,” she said. She hopes to help fund research for pediatric cancers, which is where only four percent of funding goes now. She wants to “be the voice” for the families of children with cancer. She said she’s raised thousands of dollars already through her business. Noonan would like to be able to cover funeral costs for children who pass away from cancer to help parents eliminate that added stress.
“She’s not only beautiful, she’s smart. She conquered a 20 minute interview in front of judges. They ask some tough questions,” Tom said. “She’s poised and has a good heart.”
Noonan wants to be a role model for young girls all over Maine. “I never want to look too skinny. I never want a young girl to want to say ‘I have to starve myself to look like Marybeth.’ I want to be strong, healthy and fit.” She said her best feature is “confidence. Confidence in knowing I can weightlift more than the boy standing next to me at the gym.”