Emma Rofkar may have won the title of Miss Teen Ohio for 2014, but for her, winning the contest meant far more than just being the most attractive.
“I want to show that the pageant isn’t the stereotype that everyone thinks it is,” she said.
While many may assume that the pageant is similar to reality TV beauty contests, Rofkar believes that it was her other traits that made her a victor.
“I was definitely not skinniest girl there,” she said. “They’re not looking for somebody with a perfect body or perfect posture. They want someone who’s confident no matter what she looks like.”
Seventeen year old Emma Rofkar, of Curtice, will
In order to win, Rofkar had to go through several rounds, including a personal interview and a swimsuit and evening gown presentation. Once the competition was whittled down to a top five, those lucky enough to remain were asked an onstage question.
“I was freaking out,” she said. “Right then and there, you have everything going through your mind, so you just hope you have a good answer.”
It was in that moment that her personality and social skills were able to help her win the competition. “You don’t want to be awkward, you only have a minute and a half to impress the judges,” she said. “It helps to talk to people, get out of your comfort zone.”
Winning Miss Teen Ohio means a lot for Rofkar.
Upon her victory, she was gifted a modeling contract and is now an ambassador for Pink Ribbon Girls, an organization that focuses on helping those affected by breast cancer pay for medical bills, babysitting, and other costs incurred during their struggle.
While she’ll be an advocate for several other local charities, one cause is especially close to Rofkar’s heart.
“I have a brother who has cerebral palsy,” she said, “so I want to raise awareness for (the condition).”
Rofkar, a Genoa High School junior, is also extremely focused on her academics. She currently takes post-secondary classes while still in high school, and was awarded a scholarship for $58,000 to Lindenwood University in Missouri.
“I want to go into pre-med and eventually be a dermatologist,” she said.
In the summer, Rofkar will compete in Miss Teen USA, a national pageant held in the Bahamas. She’s not worried about the results of that competition, though. This was her third year competing in Miss Teen Ohio, and she says that she learned a lot from those two disappointing years.
“Before, I didn’t really prepare and that really does show,” she said. “When you do prepare and you’re persistent, it really does pay off.”
Beyond the opportunities that are now available to her after winning the pageant, Rofkar believes that she’s gained just as much from losing as she has from her final victory.
“Since I’ve begun, I’ve learned confidence,” she said.
Rofkar knows that these lessons aren’t just confined to pageants, and she hopes that in the upcoming year she can express this to other young girls.
“Being persistent and hard working really does pay off,” she says. “Success comes before winning. It really does.”