Who is Cara Mund?
Cara Mund is an American beauty pageant winner who won Miss America 2018 title. She is the first contestant from North Dakota to win the Miss America title. Having graduated from Brown University, she also became the first Ivy League alumnus to win the pageant in the last 64 years. She was previously crowned Miss North Dakota 2017, and finished 1st runner-up for Miss North Dakota 2016 pageant. She started dancing since the age of two and later trained with the Rockettes and won many dance awards. On the Miss America stage, she choreographed her own jazz dance performance to Michael Jackson's ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’. A philanthropist since her early teens, she is actively involved with the Make-a-Wish Foundation through her ‘A Make-A-Wish Passion with Fashion’ initiative. Her charitable endeavors were officially recognized by the then-President Barack Obama in 2011.
The Meteoric Rise to Stardom
Cara Mund began participating in pageantry since she was a child. She had previously been named ‘Little Miss North Dakota’, ‘Miss Pre-Teen North Dakota’, and ‘Miss Junior Teen North Dakota’. In 2010, she earned the local state title of ‘Miss Red River Valley's Outstanding Teen’ and went on to represent North Dakota at ‘Miss America's Outstanding Teen’ the following year.
Competing in Miss North Dakota 2016 as ‘Miss Oil Country’, she managed to secure the 1st runner-up spot. The following year, she again competed in Miss North Dakota 2017 as ‘Miss Northern Lights’, and was able to earn the crown. In September 2017, she represented North Dakota in the Miss America 2018 competition. For her community service through the ‘A Make-A-Wish Passion with Fashion’ platform, she came second to Miss Alabama Jessica Procter for the ‘Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award’ award in the preliminaries. On September 10, 2017, she beat out 50 other competitors in five different categories to win the Miss America 2018 crown, as well as a $50,000 scholarship.
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Cara Mund’s involvement with the Make-A-Wish Foundation began when she witnessed a sick friend die on her 14th birthday. Her friend’s family requested that the memorial donations go to the charity. Since then, she has organized, directed and choreographed North Dakota's only Annual Make-A-Wish Fashion Show, and has independently raised nearly $80,000 to grant wishes for children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. On the Miss America stage, she acknowledged her mother to be her greatest inspiration, as despite being diagnosed with cancer three times, she has taught her to face every situation with positivity.
Cara Mund is related to Victoria Woodhull, the first woman who ran for President of the United States in 1972. She herself is interested in politics and worked as an intern at the Office of U.S. Senator, John Hoeven, for five months in 2016. She aspires to become the governor of North Dakota in the future. She is not afraid of voicing her thoughts on the current political scenario. During her onstage interview, she publicly criticized US President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate deal and stated that he is wrong to dismiss man-made climate change, which many scientists have warned about. Later, in a press conference, she stood by her answer stating that the “Miss America needs to have an opinion” without being bothered whether it contradicts with that of the President, and that she was not afraid of a backlash for expressing her opinions.
Cara Mund was born in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1994. She attended Century High School from 2009 to 2012 and was an active child at school. She was part of the Girls State and Girls Nation programs; served as National Honor Society President and Senior Class Vice President; was the Vice President of the Student Council; earned the Coca-cola Scholarship in May 2012; and was part of the Cheerleading Team and the Speech Team. NFL quarterback Carson Wentz was her classmate at school.
After completing school, she enrolled into Brown University from where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations (BEO) in 2016. In college too, she was involved in a number of activities and was part of various societies. She was the President of her Kappa Delta Sorority for over a year.She served as a Teaching Assistant at the Engineering department of the university for almost two years and also was a Research Assistant there for two and a half years. She was a Campus Tour Guide at Brown University for three years and five months. She was accepted into the Notre Dame Law School in 2016, but deferred further education to take part in the Miss Dakota pageant. She intends to use her Miss America Scholarship to fund her Juris Doctorate degree.