Passing the Crown
St. Matthews Native & Reigning Miss Kentucky USA Recalls Unique Pageant Journey
She’s more than just a pretty face. In fact, Jordan Weiter, reigning Miss Kentucky USA 2019, never competed in a pageant until January 27, 2019.
“I am very competitive and always up for a challenge, and I thought pageantry offered that in a different way for me,” Weiter says.
Weiter isn’t your typical beauty queen. For most of her childhood, she focused on playing volleyball, lacrosse and flag football. Currently, she is pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kentucky. She is enrolled in the University’s honors program and was admitted into the National Mechanical Engineering Honors Society.
With her focus on sports and academics, Weiter’s parents received quite the surprise when she announced she would be a contestant in the Miss Kentucky USA pageant as her first pageant.
“I totally came out of left field with the idea, but my parents have always encouraged me to go after whatever I wanted to accomplish,” Weiter says.
So, she traded in her sports equipment and cleats for a chance at the crown in the Miss Kentucky USA pageant.
“The pageant was completely different than what I expected,” she says. “I didn’t really do pageant hair and makeup before, so I was surprised that everyone had full hair and makeup at orientation. I was one of the few that wasn’t as made up as the other girls.”
Weiter forged her own path during the pageant. She was one of the few contestants without a collection of coaches advising her on hair, makeup, interview questions, personal training and mental strategy. Typically, pageant contestants bring on coaches to consult them throughout the pageant.
“It’s definitely a whirlwind roller coaster, but in the most fun way,” she says. “It’s a once in a lifetime thing.”
Weiter says she’s found a new side of her, but still remains the same person on the inside.
“I still wear hangout clothes, joggers and t-shirts,” she says. “I love being able to strip down without hair and makeup, but I’ve learned to enjoy the ‘getting ready’ process more.
Weiter learned much from her experience through the people she met and her fellow contestants.
“Pageantry is a mental game,” she says. “It’s so easy to get in your head, but if you don’t let things affect you and stay mentally strong, the competition is so much easier. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.”
While pageants are a far cry from her previous experiences, Weiter has always challenged the standards of society.
“I want to be a representation that women can be in STEM fields,” Weiter says. “A lot of times we underestimate ourselves as women. We can be engineers and compete in pageants and you don’t have to sacrifice who you are to achieve your dreams.
“There are so many more males than females in my engineering classes, but the more people I see coming into freshmen classes, the more women there are.”
She has since used her platform to motivate women to enter the STEM field and more male-dominated fields. During her reign as Miss Kentucky USA, she intends to focus on outreach to the younger generation of students and advocate for education of STEM-related fields for women in the U.S. and in third world countries.
“I would like to speak to schools and kids to get my voice out there about STEM fields,” she says. “I hope that all younger generations will allow themselves to try any field regardless of whether it’s male or female-dominated.”
Weiter also works closely with Engineering Without Borders USA, an initiative that partners with communities around the world to satisfy basic human needs, like clean water or solar panels for power. She plans on traveling to Africa and South American to volunteer.
“We do a lot that flies under the radar, but there is a big need for water distribution, storage for crops and water wells as a way to provide clean drinking water to the communities,” Weiter says.”
As for any words of wisdom for anyone who may consider doing something out of the ordinary, Weiter says, “In order to compete well, you have to know yourself and be yourself. You have to compete with yourself.”
After Weiter passes the crown, she plans to continue her work in the engineering field as well as her work with Engineering Without Borders.