BELFAST — Maylinda Boynton, 24, got into pageantry “on a whim” during the pandemic last March, and it has dramatically changed her life for the better. She was crowned USA National Miss Maine 2021 last September, and now will head to Florida July 1 to compete for the prestigious title of USA National Miss.

The USA National Miss competition does not focus solely on outer beauty – the pageant is based on each member’s community service record and leadership ability. Boynton described it as a way to disrupt the contemporary concept of a beauty pageant, “showing that it’s more than just pretty dresses and crowns and sashes.” She added that the experience felt like a family, with an “opportunity for everybody.”

Boynton said she entered initially because she “needed something positive” after some personal issues, and she received exactly that. “I honestly felt like I was adopted into this family of amazing people,” she said, “with girls from all different walks of life. That’s what I liked about it … you don’t have to have all the best clothes and all the best things to win.”

Since Boynton enjoys working with children, it was especially rewarding to be a role model for young girls. She just obtained her master’s degree in human development with a concentration in child trauma, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maine, wrapping up six years as a dedicated Black Bear. She said that her dream job is to teach the joy of music to kids in low-income schools. Helping her community has always been an important part of her life. Her favorite project was volunteering for the Cinderella Project of Maine in Belfast, helping teen girls find their perfect prom dress at no cost.

Boynton also had some advice to share with young girls hoping to get into pageantry. “Just do it. It has been one of the most life-changing experiences I’ve had. I would say that if anybody is interested, or even if they don’t think that they meet the mold as what you see as a typical pageant girl, I would say just go for it.”

Boynton is now working as a pageant director in Calais. Her commitment to community service and desire to be a role model are strongly exemplified in her volunteer workon a teen crisis text line and making fleece-tied blankets for hospitalized children through Project Linus.



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