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Oak Harbor grad competes for Miss Washington USA

Sarah Saya, a 2011 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, can increase chances of advancing in the competition by public vote online. - Contributed
Sarah Saya, a 2011 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, can increase chances of advancing in the competition by public vote online.
— image credit: Contributed

Sarah Saya admits this is out of her comfort zone.

But she’s giving a beauty pageant a whirl.

And people on Whidbey Island can help her.

Saya, 20, from Oak Harbor, will be competing in the Miss Washington USA 2014 Pageant Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18-19, at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien.

She is the Whidbey Island contestant in the pageant and will be trying to emerge from the weekend as Washington’s candidate for Miss USA.

First, however, she will try to become one of 16 semifinalists. The judges vote on the first 15, and the 16th “people’s choice vote” is selected by the public’s online voting at www.misswashingtonusa.com under the contestant section.

“It’s just like American Idol,” Saya said.

“The public gets to vote.”

All this is a little strange, but exciting, for Saya, who is normally shy.

She had read something online about the pageant, was intrigued and decided to sign up for candidacy.

“It’s like applying for a job,” she said. “A year later, they called me and did an interview with me.”

The pageant is owned by NBCUniversal in partnership with Donald Trump.

It is different than the Miss Washington pageant, which is a stepping stone to the Miss American pageant.

Saya, a 2011 Oak Harbor High School graduate and student at Skagit Valley College, fit the qualities of candidates the pageant wants, said Maureen Francisco, who interviewed her for the competition.

“We want women of character,” Francisco said. “Since we don’t choose who gets to win the prestigious title, we want to invite women who are in a healthy place in their lives and can be role models to other young women.”

Saya, who is studying to become a nurse, will be judged this weekend by her interviewing skills, and the swimsuit and evening gown categories. Each will count one-third toward her overall evaluation in the preliminaries.

“I feel like I’m going to gain more confidence in myself,” she said. “I get to know a lot of girls. It’s really going to put me out of my comfort zone.”

Saya is attempting to represent Washington in the Miss USA competition for women ages 18-26.

Tickets for this weekend’s event may be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/459610

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