|Photo - Faces Photography|
So, let's see what happens when Abby Garner visits Section 36!
What made you want to compete within the Miss America Organization?
When I was 11 years old my voice teacher was Miss Lehi 2009. I thought she was so incredible, she had the most beautiful voice, and always made me feel so important. Growing up I had other dreams and never really saw myself as a titleholder. My Senior year of High School I saw a flyer for the Miss Lehi 2016 competition and decided on a whim I wanted to compete. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing but from that first night I was hooked! I have been involved ever since.
You recently had the opportunity to compete for the Miss Utah title. What was that experience like?
It was absolutely magical. I have been working towards this goal for five years and I held my first title for two years so it just felt even more fulfilling. I made some of the best friends I've ever had, I gained confidence I didn't know I was capable of, and I was able to share my Social Impact Initiative with people from all over Utah (which ultimately is why I'm still involved with this organization.)
What did you learn about yourself at the Miss Utah competition that will help you in future competitions?
I don't even know where to begin. I think the biggest thing I learned was that at the end of the day this isn't about a crown or a sash or even a title. The service opportunities I've had and the sisterhood are the true reasons why MAO is so important! I didn't do as well as I had hoped to at Miss Utah but I was still so proud of myself and I came away with even more connections than before. Going forward I think it has just given me a new perspective and helped me be extra grateful for the experiences I've already had and every new experience I have heading my way.
How did you select your social impact initiative, “Let's Create Wellness - Creating Positive Mental Health Through the Arts”?
I lived with undiagnosed mental illness approximately from the time I was 7 until I was diagnosed when I was 17. That caused a lot of confusion and pain throughout my adolescence which led to suicidal thoughts. I truly believe that the only reason I am alive today is because I started theater when I was 8 and found a community and an outlet to take care of my mental health. Musicals got me through some of the hardest times in my life. When I had to choose my SII I started out with BREAK THE STIGMA - Mental Health awareness. I loved this SII but it didn't feel personal enough to me. For my second year I discussed my story and passions with a really trusted friend and thus #LetsCREATEWellness was born. The arts saved my life and I love being able to share their healing power with my community!
As a talented singer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
First of all, Thank you so much! I absolutely love singing but my favorite part about performing is being able to express myself through the music I've chosen. It's simultaneously the most vulnerable and most empowering experience and I never seem to get tired of it.
If you could play any role in a Broadway show, which would it be? Why?
This is a HARD question because honestly there are hundreds of roles I'd like to play. My longest standing dream role is Amneris in Aida. She is an Egyptian princess, engaged to the captain of the army, her father is dying and she is heir to the throne. She starts off the show as a really shallow character. She talks about how her appearance is all that matters to her and doesn't have any deep relationships. Throughout the show she goes through a lot of trials and the audience gets to watch her character development. She is a very strong character and I LOVE playing character growth so this one has been on my list for a long time.
If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
I would probably be Megera. As you can probably tell I love strong female characters and Meg has always been one of my favorites. She is sassy, witty, and selfless. I think she is a great role model. Her character arc is so interesting and I really admire her vulnerability and willingness to grow.
As a Yankees fan, if you had an extra ticket to see them play, who would you take with you? Why?
100% my dad. He is the reason I am such a Yankees fan and he has helped foster my love for baseball. He is always willing to explain a rule or a term I don't understand and his love for the game is fun to watch. No one I'd rather cheer on my Yanks with.
Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?
I've always wanted to throw out the first pitch! I think that is such a fun honor and I am hopeful that I'll get the opportunity to do so one day. It would be such an honor to throw the first pitch for Utah's Minor League team the Salt Lake Bee's! I'd also love to sing the national anthem at a baseball game some day (when I was a kid I was able to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game with my sister at a Las Vegas Aviators (formerly known as the 51's) game and that is one of my favorite memories from my teenage years.
As always, I want to thank Abby for visiting with us, and for sending along the fantastic pictures to go with the interview.
I encourage you to check out the #LetsCREATEWellness Instagram account to see how the Arts can help spread positive mental health. You should also be sure to follow Abby's personal Instagram account to make sure you don't miss anything as she takes another crack at the Miss Utah title!
Thanks again Abby, and good luck with all of your future competitions!