I was born and raised in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. Growing up in a rather smaller town in central Wisconsin, I kept myself busy with sports, leadership activities, and hanging out with friends and family. I began dancing at age five at Dance with Pam and have taken classes in tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, and ballet. I was also on the Lincoln High School dance team for two and half years and was Junior Captain before stepping away due to a sciatic nerve injury winter of 2010. In addition to dance, I played recreational soccer before playing in the Rapids Kickers competitive, traveling league. I also played basketball and ran track.
I moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin to pursue a college education at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the Fall of 2011. Initially, I wanted to study Athletic Training with a pre-professional track to a Physical Therapy degree. However, when the fall of my sophomore year approached I found myself struggling emotionally, mentally, and academically. At that same point in time, I won my first local title within the Miss America Organization, Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest 2012, which was a pivotal point in my life (See “Crowns” tab for more on my year and other titles.) This opportunity allowed me to realize that science and math classes were not for me and that I needed to pursue a career that allowed me to be around people. In addition to that, I had a strong passion for sports, communicating, and connecting with others in the community. In turn, I ultimately switched my degree to a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational and Professional Communication Studies with a minor in Broadcast and Digital Media; graduating in May of 2015.
Currently, I’m living and working in La Crosse as a Multimedia Journalist for WXOW News 19 and absolutely love my job (see “Multi-Media Journalist” tab for more on my job experience). On a daily basis, I have the opportunity to go out into the community, meet new people, share stories, and learn more about myself and those around me; how cool is that?! In addition to my full-time job, I competed in the Miss America Organization for seven years, obtaining five different local titles that provided me with the opportunity to vie for the job of Miss Wisconsin and volunteer throughout the state. I’m humbled to say I placed as 1st Runner-Up to Miss Wisconsin 2017, winning the Overall Evening Gown award and walking away with countless relationships and scholarship dollars.
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @TiannaVanderhei to stay up to date with the random happenings of my daily life, as well as style posts.