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Mapleton woman crowned first-ever ‘Miss Volunteer America’

May 8, 2022, 8:03 PM | Updated: May 9, 2022, 1:59 pm
The very first ever Miss Volunteer America is Mapleton, Utah's own Alexa Knutzer. Photo courtesy of...
Alexa Knutzer, the inaugural Miss Volunteer America, is from Mapleton, UT and has accepted a job at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. (Courtesy of Miss Volunteer America)
(Courtesy of Miss Volunteer America)

JACKSON, Tennessee — The inaugural Miss Volunteer America is 24-year-old Alexa Knutzen of Mapleton, Utah, crowned in Jackson, Tennessee Saturday night.

According to Knutzen, Miss Volunteer America is a recent brand that came out in the summer of 2018, after the Miss America Organization changed direction, turning away from the visual beauty of its contestants and focusing more on their empowerment.

Miss Volunteer America is born

Knutzen says out of the drastic change that spawned Miss America 2.0, Miss Volunteer America was born.  The new pageant keeps the ball gowns and swimsuits and promotes volunteerism and humanitarian projects.

She says the volunteer part is baked into the pageants and related presentations, where contestants submit a SERVE platform. After submitting, they are generally asked about it during a portion of the competition.

“Most times that platform will get brought up where women will get to share how they will spend a lot of their time promoting their platforms, their organizations and the things they care about,” Knutzen says.

‘Local girl done good’

Knutzen didn’t grow up with a lot of extra money for a lifetime of pageant competition. She says her beautiful dress didn’t cost her a penny. It was made by her mom.

“We could never afford custom things, or custom gowns, pageantry is expensive,” Knutzen says. “My mom, being the woman she is, still wanted me to feel special and learn how to make custom couture gowns… it means the world to me that I was able to walk out on a national stage in a dress made by my own mother.”

Knutzen says before the pageant even started, she accepted a job at Vanderbilt Hospital in their preschool for the Autistic, as a speech-language pathologist assistant.

“I can’t wait to just hit the ground running, promoting this organization and what it can do for young women all over America,” Knutzen says.

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Mapleton woman crowned first-ever ‘Miss Volunteer America’