Time to shine some light on this beautiful soul, Miss Zoe Roou. I have known Zoe for a few years now, as she was first princess when one of my best friends, Molly Sullivan was Miss Sparta. I got to know her then (when I was Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest) and was absolutely elated to watch her be crowned Miss Sparta the following year.
This fall, Zoe joined the Oktoberfest family as she took on the title of Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest 2015. I jumped up cheering with joy as soon as her name was called and had tears streaming down my face. To all of you who may not know this young woman that well, I can tell you she is extremely selfless, devoted to this program and what it stands for, and constantly works to build up those around her. Thank you for being a light in so many peoples’ lives and for continuing to encourage my dreams! Love you pretty lady. Name: Zoe Roou
Birthday: April 9, 1996
Hometown: Sparta, WI
Education: Sparta High School graduate, currently a sophomore at UW-La Crosse
Dream job: Orthodontist
Favorite color: Sparkles! (it’s a color)
1. What inspired you to get involved with the Miss America Organization? One of my friends Molly Sullivan was so active with the community during her year as Miss Sparta 2012, and I was really inspired by all of her work and dedication. I had a passion for cancer advocacy and research already, and when I found out that having a platform was actually part of the program, I knew I had to give it a shot!
2. Tell us about your first MAO pageant. I had just turned 17 and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. At that time, I had curled my hair twice in my life and didn’t even bother with make up on a regular basis, so it was kind of overwhelming. I had several of my friends competing with me, though, so it helped with the nerves. I ended up getting 1st runner up, but best of all, I got to watch my best friend Autumn win!
3. What is/was your platform and why did you choose it? My platform is called Cancer is Everyone’s Battle, because it really is something everyone has to deal with in one way or another. Four members of my family were diagnosed with cancer, my parents had cancer scares, and one of my summer jobs was working with a young girl named Susanna who had leukemia. Susanna became the light of my life and was wise beyond her years, and I wanted to share her message of strength along with the message of doing what you can to decrease your risk of cancer through my platform.
4. What is your favorite phase of competition, why? I really enjoy interview. I definitely get nervous because you have no idea what question could be thrown at you, but I think the interview portion is what sets you apart from other contestants. In no other phase of competition do you get to really discuss your platform or what makes you who you are.
5. Style, Service, Scholarship, or Success? Service–the whole reason I joined this organization is because I wanted to have a foundation to change a community with something I was passionate about. The best legacy you could leave behind is one of helping others, and that’s what the MAO gives you the opportunity to do. 6. What titles have you held and what were some of your biggest accomplishments or most cherished memories during each of them?
- Miss Sparta 2014–I set up a Take Down Cancer Wrestling Night at Sparta High School where I raised over $2000 for Sparta Area Cancer Support and the Hayden Family. I sold t-shirts beforehand and encouraged everyone, even our “rival” school Tomah, to wear purple for the event. I remember seeing this sea of purple and I couldn’t have been happier to see all of these people come together for the sake of something bigger than themselves. Another memory that will always be one of my favorites was after the first prelim night of Miss Wisconsin when I finally got to see my family and friends. After I got a hug from my very best friend, I realized he and my whole family would be proud no matter what, and that made me the happiest girl in the world.
- Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest 2015–I feel like the best is yet to come! The school and nursing home visits after Oktoberfest are something that you have to experience to understand; it changes you. Also, being crowned was honestly the last thing I ever expected. I almost didn’t run for the title because it seemed unrealistic. The memory of hugging my best friend and my family after I was crowned could bring me tears to this day; all I ever wanted was the make them proud.
7. What is/was your talent and what do/did you enjoy most about performing it? For Miss Sparta and Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest I sang, but this year at Miss Wisconsin I will be singing in addition to playing my guitar. I taught myself to play guitar when I moved to Wisconsin when I was 14, and I would not be the person I am today if I had never taught myself. I’m really excited to bring it to the stage because it really will show who I am.
8. Who is your biggest role model within the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Program? Kate Gorman. She was the first Miss Wisconsin I ever met, and she was so incredibly kind and down to earth. I also admire how she lives her platform. She encouraged healthy eating, and even after her reign she continued with her message and did exactly what she set out to do.
9. Favorite comfort food outside of competition mode? Pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Ian’s Pizza in Madison has cheesy potato pizza and it’s pretty life-changing. Oh, and Pizza Ranch’s cinnamon roll dessert pizza is to die for…..I think I have a problem…
10. Who is your favorite Miss America? Why? Kira Kazantsev. Kira made incredible strides for her platform and was so involved with CMNH. Her year really was about service.
11. How would you describe the feelings you had when you won your first local? What goes through your mind when you are standing on stage and you hear your name called? The moment my name was called, my dream came true. I kind of fell to the ground because it does hit you that this is real and for a year you get to do exactly what you wanted to do. I remember I looked up and said thank you to God because my prayers were answered.
12. If someone says, “You’re a beauty queen, what’s the relevancy of a pageant in today’s society,” what would you say to them? In a country where women are underrepresented, not treated equally, and where college debt is crippling, I can’t think of a more relevant organization. This program gives women the chance to not only help themselves but also help their community, so what’s the matter with that? This organization is all about lifting women up, not tearing them down.
13. What is the most memorable moment you’ve experienced as a contestant/titleholder? The reunion with my family and friends at the reception for Miss Wisconsin is something I will always cherish. They were all beaming and I got the biggest and best hugs of my life. Miss Wisconsin was my final event as Miss Sparta, so it was a close to the best chapter of my life. I will never, ever forget that.
14. How has your involvement influenced your life? This program has made me realize what I’m capable of and has helped me recognize my self-worth. I have made the greatest friends I could’ve ever asked for and memories that I will still remember vividly when I’m 90. I don’t think I could be more grateful for this organization.
15. What advice would you give to fellow sisters, contestants, and young girls looking to one day compete for a title? Be wise–you are given a foundation to change a community and a year to do it, and there are girls who would give anything to be in your shoes. Be humble–be grateful and recognize that you don’t “deserve” a title, you work for it not just before the crown, but during your year as well. And be patient–it’s so much easier said than done, but eventually we figure out why things happen a certain way and why God’s plan is the way it is, but we have to be patient.