Miss America visits Miami

Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011
Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011

Teresa Scanlan knew her life had changed when Chris Harrison called her name at the Miss America pageant earlier this year. Scanlan, 18, summed up her emotions best: “I think at that moment you know your life is never going to be the same,’’ said Scanlan during a recent Miami stop. “I knew anything could happen.’’

Still, winning has been a lot to take in. “I’m the middle child of seven children from a small town, and all of a sudden I’m traveling the entire country before even going to college!’’ But Teresa seems perfectly ready, more poised and articulate than the average 30-year-old.

At the time the former Miss Nebraska won, she was 17 and one of the youngest contestants in the 90-year-old competition and the only one from the Cornhusker State. Scanlan was awarded a $50,000 scholarship and is now the spokeswoman for Amway’s Artistry skincare. She’ll also travel around the country combating negative attitudes about eating disorders, her platform.

“I’m really focused on speaking to young girls about body image,’’ she said. “We all deal with doubts and fears and not feeling good enough.’’

Peer pressure may be partially to blame.

“It’s such a serious illness, and we don’t take it seriously enough,’’ she said. “It’s not about the number on the scale. Don’t look at the girl next to you! Focus on your strengths and weaknesses and what works and treating your body with respect.’’