Miss Clark County crowned as Miss Washington


Vanessa Munson, a Prairie High School graduate and current sergeant in the U.S. Army, increased her status from Miss Clark County to Miss Washington on Saturday, July 1, during a pageant in Olympia.

“I grew up watching the Miss America pageant on TV and I knew nothing about the Miss America Organization until I entered my first pageant at 15,” Munson said. “All I knew was that I just wanted to make a difference in the world. So I competed for several years and I actually hadn’t won any title until this last year when I took home the title of Miss Clark County.”

Munson’s first appearance at the state competition at 22 years old was highly successful as she now wears the crown and sash for the entire state of Washington.

“It’s a very surreal feeling to now be able to represent an organization that has completely formed me into the woman I am today,” Munson said. “And I’m so so thankful. It’s a tremendous scholarship organization and it’s super empowering for young women.”

A private interview and different levels of competition took place in Olympia from June 25 through July 1 in the process that ultimately resulted in her being crowned the winner. Munson added that every title holder within the organization has a community service initiative with hers being, “Beauty and beyond: What is your beautiful?”

“So I work to empower young women and girls by finding confidence from the inside out,” Munson said. “So I partnered with a couple of nonprofit organizations like Girls Incorporated and Dress for Success. Both organizations focus on women encouraging girls to really just be strong, smart and bold. Along with that, I’m also hearing impaired and so I wear a hearing aid and just recently I’ve been able to donate hearing impaired Barbie dolls to hearing impaired girls around Clark County and will now be able to take that initiative to a statewide level.”

Munson took part in private interviews for the competition on June 29, followed by a preliminary competition consisting of evening gown, fitness on stage, questions and talent. Munson added that she took home the preliminary evening gown award on June 30 and then on finals night she earned top 10 overall, then top five overall and finally heard her name paired with the title of Miss Washington.

Looking ahead, Munson will be competing at the Miss America pageant in January.

“I just found out that Miss America orientation is next month and so it’s just going to be a continuous amount of preparation. I don’t think there’s going to be any stopping,” Munson said. “It’s been my dream to go to Miss America and now it’s really coming to fruition.”

Munson will be advocating for empowerment in the state of Washington. She added that it’s interesting to represent both the Miss America Organization and the United States Army. She said the support from the Army has been phenomenal.

Before Munson’s interview with The Reflector, she was on the phone with her battalion commander at Joint Base Lewis McChord. She said the Army is eager to promote this initiative and to have this kind of representation for the Army.

Munson explained that outside of pageantry she is a sergeant and human resources specialist in the Army.

“I am currently going to school in pursuit of my bachelor’s in business management with a minor in marketing. I attend American Military University. I have plans to become a program management analyst with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Munson said.

Munson gave a shout out to her entire family and the county scholarship organization as they have helped with guiding her in this process.

“I have this funny saying of ‘go be great.’ My dad and I have always said it to one another probably since I was a freshman in high school. But truly believing in yourself is the best thing that you can do,” Munson said. “And we have to at the end of the day be our number one fans.”

Learn more about Miss Washington at misswashington.org/.