On Saturday night, America watched (literally – biggest Miss America ratings in years) as Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, was crowned the 2011 Miss America. And as the crown was placed on her head, host Brooke Burke informed us Teresa was the youngest Miss America in history – she’s only 17! I had to ask myself how, though, given that Miss America requires contestants to be high school graduates, could she be 17? Well, as it turns out, she was homeschooled for most of her education and graduated last year at age 16.
And while I see that Miss Scanlan is poised, beautiful and cute as a damn button, I can’t help but ask myself, isn’t she just a bit too young for this? Is the job too big for a 17 year old to handle? And should we expect a 17 year old to put off her college education to travel the world playing the piano, waving and shaking hands for the Miss America organization? I don’t know.
I suppose throughout our careers, women are asked, can you really do it? I feel that way often. So I suppose it’s hypocritical that I question the ability or stamina of this clearly gifted young girl. Conflicted, I am, as I think on one hand, let’s let 17 year olds be 17 year olds. But on the other, maybe she’s just the role model Americas 17 year olds need.