The Royal Spotlight is an interview series where I highlight queens from a variety of pageant systems. This month I had the pleasure of interviewing 2018 America’s Elite Miss Anastasia Valimaki.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a Biomedical Engineer at the University of Florida. I take my academics very seriously and yet balance it out with sports and friends. I like to play water polo, swim and run. I am a first generation American and very proud of my Finnish background. I speak Finnish and love the culture it has given me. We are known for our integrity and perseverance, and I never give up what I start. I did my first half a marathon at age of 12 and only because of SISU. I am a person who believes in being true to one self and living life without compromise to one’s own beliefs. I believe happiness is contagious, so I laugh a lot, I do not like dwelling on negative things as that is not productive. I love my pets. I have 3 dogs and 2 sugar gliders, and I am obsessed with plants.
When did you start competing in pageants?
I did my first pageant when I was 17. I competed in Miss Teen America which was incredibly intimidating as it was a national competition. I am very shy, and I remember being incredibly nervous. Regardless, I truly enjoyed the experience and returned even the next year, never reaching the top, but always making tons of new friends and acquiring respect for the skills the girls have.
Why do you compete in pageants?
I compete in pageants because it is a fun and challenging experience. I have managed to come out of my shell tremendously. I am a much better and more confident public speaker than before. Being confident and poised is beneficial in anything you do. Its also fun to dress up, make new friends, be in new venues and travel.
How many titles have you won?
Besides winning the America’s Elite Miss 2018. I won the title of Florida’s Miss United States Agriculture in 2017. I placed first runner up in the Pure Miss International Pageant. It is not all about the title; I have participated in 6 national pageants and took the first national title this time, but I have enjoyed each competition. It is all about personal growth and evolving as a individual. Regardless if we win, we are role models that little girls look up to and we can shape many we meet regardless if we have the winning crown. I sincerely believe every participant is a winner that takes something valuable away from the pageant. In the end, we all deserve a crown even though only one walks away with it.
Tell us about the America’s Elite Miss Pageant.
I absolutely love the Directors and Staff. They are all so kind and helpful and not judgmental at all. The production and stage are top notch, and I could not be prouder to be a queen for any other system than America’s Elite Miss. The girls competing are all very high caliber ladies, civic minded, intelligent and so very beautiful and poised. I was sincerely surprised when I won. There was no sure winner in any category because all of the girls were exceptional. Anyone could have won the title and represented it proudly, but I am so honored that I walked away with the Miss title this year.
How do you prepare for competition?
Sauna, Sauna and more Sauna. I am a first generation American from a Finnish background. We cleanse our body and soul with sauna. Its very purifying to just clear your mind and meditate in a hot sauna while feeling the toxins leave your body. Before this pageant I even sat in the sauna then ran outside and rolled in the snow which I know sounds crazy. I also visualize the stage, take a deep breath and just be myself. I am always nervous, but I just think I show it less.
What are your future plans for your pageant career?
I will treasure this year for sure and promote the system as much as I possibly can. I want to be a role model to young girls and if I am not competing, perhaps I can volunteer or mentor where needed. I may compete in other pageants once I am finished representing the AEM crown, but it is up in the air.
What words of advice do you live by?
I live by these words, “Success is based on honesty, character, integrity, faith, love & loyalty: sprinkled with tons of SISU.” SISU means perseverance.
Please provide your contact information so that others can reach out to you.
If you are a queen and want to be featured in the Royal Spotlight series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.