When she graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2019, Tamara “T” Statman, the current Miss Tucson Del Sol and previous four-year letter winner for the UA softball team, wanted to find something new to be involved in.
“If you’re passionate about something, you’ll find time for it,” Statman said. “I’ve always been interested in competing for anything, really. Once I finished my college softball career I said, ‘Hey, this is something I want to do,’ so I looked into it and I signed up.”
Currently, Statman stays busy working at Cumulus Media, teaching for the Tucson Unified School District and giving softball lessons. While it may seem like she has her hands full with responsibilities, Statman doesn’t feel overwhelmed with her new role as Miss Tucson Del Sol.
Making time for her new passion as a competition winner means a lot to Statman and the organization that grants the opportunity.
“It’s about just being present in the community and really showcasing what Miss Tucson is and what the Miss America organization can do for the city of Tucson,” Statman said.
Miss America has existed for 98 years and is changing the dynamics of how pageants are viewed in modern times, according to the organization’s website.
“Technically, the Miss America organization does not call itself a pageant. It is a scholarship competition, and they’ve really come to disassociate themselves from that,” Statman said. “Miss America is its own entity, and it says that it’s one of the largest providers of scholarships for women.”
The competition was the first to offer a talent category and scholarships for women to use towards their education goals. Last year, candidates were “no longer judged on outward appearance,” according to the Miss America website.
“I danced,” Statman said. “I did a solo Charleston which was really interesting and really fun.”
With the elimination of the swimsuit competition and additional focus on platforms of candidates, “Miss America 2.0,” as the website calls it, was born.
According to Statman, the competition includes a nine-minute interview with various questions that contestants must practice before competing.
“They could ask me literally anything, whether it’s about the Miss America organization or about your resume or even about current issues such as politics and news,” Statman said.
Contestants are also given the opportunity to speak about a chosen platform they feel is important.
“My platform is skin cancer prevention,” Statman said. “Part of that is educating people on the dangers of skin cancer and getting people to talk about it.”
Statman met with the Skin Cancer Institute of the UA Cancer Center to get her platform spoken about in the community.
“I was able to speak with a local state representative to get the bill reintroduced to the state senate about banning the use of tanning beds for those under the age of 18,” Statman said. “Right now it’s going through democratic procedure.”
John Dalton is a friend of Statman’s and serves as the vice chair for the City of Tucson Human Relations Commission. He said that Statman was motivated to do something new such as compete for Miss Tucson after she graduated from the UA.
“It’s definitely a different world from sports or softball,” Dalton said.
Dalton noticed Statman’s hard work in preparing for interviews, practicing her walk and working to become a better representative for Tucson.
“She’s always been able to do pretty well,” Dalton said. “She was still a little nervous.”
Although the thrill of the competition is certainly exciting for those close to Statman, Dalton is most proud of how she is advocating for her platform.
“She’ll definitely bring more attention to the topic of skin cancer prevention and be able to work with people at a higher level,” Dalton said. “You have more access when you have some sort of title. You stand out and people are more likely to listen than just your average person.”
Statman will go on to compete for the title of Miss Arizona in June 2020 and looks forward to the new competition.
“These girls are in it for their education,” Staman said. “And girls that are passionate about the world around them.”
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