MISS MISSOURI: SHELBY RINGDAHL
Gorgeous? Check. Talented? Check. Access to that crown and a fantastic wardrobe? Check, check! For Miss Missouri, Shelby Ringdahl it’s just another day on the job. Originally from Columbia,MO, the 5’10” stunner is a 21 year old senior at TCU majoring in Musical Theatre. Ringdahl is racking up the miles during her reign, visiting a new Missouri city almost daily. From visiting with veterans to educating groups about her platform, “CASA: Home, Safe, Home”, being Miss Missouri is a lot of work. But it’s also a lot of fashionable fun! From amazing gowns to custom shoes, fashion plays a big part in pageant life. Ringdahl gives Hantastic readers the inside scoop:
Congratulations on your title! The evening gown you wore in the Miss America Pageant was stunning! Who designed it and where do you get it?
Tony Bowls designed my gown. It was actually an off the rack gown, but I had one custom made with a tad more crystals on the back, moved the waist band down to hit me at the perfect spot, and added extra length due to my height. I was crowned Miss MO on a Saturday and by Tuesday we were on the road to Arkansas to meet with Bowls at the Royal We, a pageant boutique. I tried on quite a few dresses, but the red one was the third, I think, and every one after that we compared to the red one, so we knew that was it! I had to go to Arkansas one more time for alterations and then it was shipped to me. Evening gown competition is only 20% of your overall score in the Miss America Pageant. The main factor is that you feel like Miss America in the gown and that it reflects what you like. If you feel like yourself in the dress, and also a tad like Jackie O, then it’s the one!
I know being Miss Missouri requires frequent public appearances, which translates to a lot of outfit changes. Yet you always look amazing at events! Do you get to choose your wardrobe? How do you see fashion playing an important role with Miss Misouri?
As Miss Missouri, I’m in a different Missouri city almost every day. From speaking in schools to performing or hanging with kids at a children’s hospital, I have varied outfit needs. For schools, I usually wear more business casual, sometimes even a cute shirt, boots, and jeans for high school in order to be more relateable. For galas and performing, usually it’s a gown or cocktail dress from my Miss America wardrobe or one of my gown sponsors: The Royal We, Natalie M, Clark’s, or Rebekah Lane Formalwear.
I get to choose what I want to wear to all appearances, unless there is a specific request, like asking for the “Cardinals Dress”. Before I ever buy a pair of shoes, I always put both of them on and stand for a while to make sure they aren’t uncomfortable because I know I will be standing most of the time I am in them! My favorite outfit is definitely my BCBG jumpsuit I wore to be a judge and perform at the Superstar Columbia American Idol contest. It’s the perfect length, which for me is hard to find, and is very classy with a bit of an edge. That’s what I feel like my overall style is…very Kate Middleton with a splash of Beyonce to keep it interesting!
Fashion is important in my role as Miss Missouri in that you always are making first impressions and taking pictures. To the people you meet on that one day, that’s the outfit they will always remember you in, so it is important to always look classy, put together, but still Shelby. You are representing not only the organization and the state of Missouri in all that you do, every school you speak in, and every child you hug, but also representing yourself and who you are as a person. In this day and age, it is important you always look your best!
Part of the Miss America Pageant includes the “Show Us Your Shoes” parade, a time honored tradition dating back to 1973. Contestants design their own shoes to reflect themselves and about the state they represent. Your outfit for the parade was amazing! And those fabulous shoes! Tell me about the infamous “Cardinals Dress”. Who designed it?
The Cardinals Dress was made my Shelley Kelley, one of my Miss Missouri sponsors, at Clarks Bridal & Formal in Jonesboro, Arkansas. One of my Miss America prep team members, Steve Wilson, and I came up with the outfit ideas. He did the dress and train and I did the shoes. The crowd in Atlantic City absolutely loved it! My favorite part was the red fascinator hat I got on Etsy. I love Kate Middleton, so I threw in a little of her in the outfit as well. Actually, I’ve booked more appearances for that dress than anything else! I have attended numerous fundraising events in it. Also, I sang the National Anthem at Busch Stadium for the Cards vs. Dodgers NLCS game while wearing it!
I’ve gotta ask about the best accessory of all…I’m dying to know about the crown! It looks so heavy, how does it stay on? How do you travel with it? And more importantly, do you get to keep it?
Haha! It’s not heavy! The crown comes in a walnut box with blue velvet on the inside, actually the box is heavier than the crown. It has a band across the top that attaches to my hair with hair clips and it doesn’t go anywhere. I do get to keep it after my official reign is over. I usually check the whole box in my suitcase when flying, except one time when my bag was overweight so I had to carry it on. When I went through airport security, the guard asked if I would please open the box of human remains….I had to tell him it was a tiara! That was an awkward moment to say the least!