Sophomore earns title of America’s U.S. Miss Nebraska

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Sophomore earns title of America’s U.S. Miss Nebraska

Victoria Bayer being crowned America's U.S. Miss Nebraska in October.
Courtesy photo
Victoria Bayer being crowned America's U.S. Miss Nebraska in October.

When the crown was placed on her head, Victoria Bayer had never been more surprised.

The UNL sophomore exercise, nutrition and health sciences major said she was just giving pageants a try. And in her first competition, she won the title of America’s U.S. Miss Nebraska.

Bayer said has always been interested in modeling – she takes classes at Springboard Finishing and Modeling School in Lincoln. It was the school’s owner, Robin Jones Gifford, who encouraged Bayer to compete the pageant, held Oct. 19 in Kansas City, Mo.

“She wanted me to do it for three years and I kept saying no, but I finally gave in this time,” Bayer said.

On a tight schedule, Bayer only met with her coach once for about an hour and a half for training for personality wear, evening wear and interviews for the pageant. Now, she plans to compete in the organization’s national pageant show in Florida in July 2014.

The regional pageant included women from Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Colorado. Contestants competed against others from their home state. Finalists must excel in the areas of academics, volunteer service, and self-confidence.

Bayer, a graduate of Lincoln Southeast, participated in three interviews off-stage – and a little out of her comfort zone. During conversation, Bayer had to dress professionally and show off her personality, she said.

“The key was to go in there with confidence,” she said. “They would ask you some questions and you really had to think on your feet, like ‘If you could be any superhero, who would you be?’”

The personality wear and evening gown competitions were more comfortable for Bayer, who models in bridal shows and in Omaha Fashion Week. For personality wear, Bayer chose a striped multicolored halter dress from Express, while for evening wear she wore a light pink evening gown that she borrowed from a friend.

“It’s all about going on stage and making eye contact with the judges and the audience, which is more of what I’m used to,” she said.

Even after a shocking win, Bayer said she’s unsure if she will continue pageants beyond competing for the America’s Miss U.S. national title.

“It’s a lot different than what I’m used to,” she said.

For now, Bayer said she was focused on finishing classes and getting involved on campus. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and works part-time with her grandmother, Terri Grimes Riggins, in the Nebraska football offices. As a student worker, Bayer answers phone calls, gives stadium tours and helps with football recruits.

Bayer is professional, he said — important for someone who sits right off the elevator and is the first face a recruit will see. “She has very good composure, which is something we look for,” Jake Wesch, recruiting manager for UNL athletics. “Sometimes the first impression is a lasting impression.”

As for modeling, Bayer doesn’t have any plans to stop, but earning a degree is her first priority.

“I really want to get a degree and start what I call a ‘real career,’” she said. “Modeling you can only do for so long and if an opportunity comes, I’m sure I’ll take it. But I want to get my degree first.”

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