Saying Farewell to the Capital City

I was told recently that the older you get the faster time goes and although I’ve heard that phrase many times, it seemed to hold a stronger relevance to my life than ever before. Just a year ago I was crowned Miss Madison-Capital City 2015 at the Eastside Club in Monona. The moment I was crowned consumed me with so many different emotions. Standing there amongst a handful of other women who were so driven, accomplished, dedicated, and ready to serve the community with utmost passion made me nervous and in my opinion nerves are good. I don’t care what goal or accomplishment you’re seeking to achieve in life, being nervous means that you care; that’s a good thing. It means that you’re pursuing something that sets your heart on fire and that is how I felt moments before I was crowned Miss Madison last winter. The moment Rachel said my name, I felt relief washed over me joy excitement and a humble attitude filled my heart. As I walked over to Raeanna for my crowning moment, I nearly felt like I pushed her over as my body weight fell into her so ecstatic to have this opportunity to serve the the Badgerland that I love.


During my year of service, I had the unique opportunity to make appearances in Madison, La Crosse (where I currently live), and my hometown of Wisconsin Rapids. I’ve joked that by now I’m pretty sure I could self-fund Starbucks with the excess lattes I purchased driving back and forth across the state. From volunteering at Family Fest in La Crosse, helping out at the Madison Children’s Expo, making an appearance at the JDR Walk for Diabetes in Madison, participating in the Monona Memorial Day Parade, organizing a garage sale benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hosptals in Wisconsin Rapids (thanks to my mom), attending CMNH events in La Crosse, and placing as a Top 11 Semi-Finalist at Miss Wisconsin 2015, it’s been a whirlwind.


Thank you to my parents for instilling in me that anything is possible with hard work and dedication, I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I would not be in my position professionally as a Multi-Media Journalist or a titleholder without your love and support and cannot begin to express in words how appreciative I am of both of you. Thank you to my big sister, Morgan. Although your eligibility within the MAO has passed, you continue to help me in any way, shape, or form that you can. Despite being very different, this program has allowed us to see and embrace the many similarities we possess: our passion for our communities, dedication to service, and love for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Thank you for all that you’ve done and all you continue to do; know that my dreams within this organization are not possible without your guidance. Ridge and Reece, I can’t imagine teenage boys LOVE being dragged to countless pageants but your support means the world to me. I’m so incredible proud of the young men you’re becoming.


Joe and Ron, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you both throughout my involvement in the Miss America Organization the past five years but this opportunity provided us with the forum to get to know one another even better. I am humbled to have served as your titleholder and admire your devotion and passion for this scholarship program. Love you both!

To my incredible boyfriend, Adam, thanks for whole heartedly embracing the “pageant boyfriend” role by helping me with interview prep and constantly reminding me that I am capable of much more than I could ever imagine. I’m very blessed and honored to say that my very best friend shares the same drive I embody for pursuing my dreams and dedication to helping others, love you boo.


A special thank you to the Carlson family, my Miss Wisconsin Class of 2015 sisters, West Side ladies, previous directors, Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Program board members and volunteers. I owe much of my success to all of you and am extremely grateful to have your undivided love in my life.

Although I am continuing to compete and pursue my dream job of serving the state of Wisconsin as Miss Wisconsin, I am forever thankful for this opportunity to represent Madison as Miss Madison-Capital City 2015. Best of luck to Sarah Newton, Miss Madison-Capital City 2016, I look forward to seeing where this journey takes you. On Wisconsin!



Tianna Vanderhei


If you would like to see my farewell video, it can be found on my YouTube:


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