Cassandra Berger to compete in Miss Iowa USA® pageant Sunday

Cassandra Berger...
Cassandra Berger... Photo by Gus Pladsen Photography.

The Miss Iowa USA® and Miss Iowa Teen USA® competitions are slated for this Sunday, October 8 in Newton, and one will feature a competitor of local fame. Cassandra Berger, daughter of Rusty and Cynthia Berger of Waukon and a 2012 graduate of Waukon High School, will be among the dozens of competitors seeking the crown of Miss Iowa USA® at this year's event.

The competition, which will be held at the Newton High School Auditorium at 4 p.m. this Sunday, consists of three proportional segments: evening gown, fitness/swimwear and personality interview. Eligible young women must be between the ages of 13 and 27 and be unmarried residents of Iowa.

"I’m always looking for my next challenge, and I see the Miss Iowa USA pageant as an opportunity to challenge myself from a physical and an emotional standpoint," Berger said of her decision to participate in this year's competition. "The preparation for this pageant has helped me learn more about myself and what I stand for. I believe that I will continue to develop throughout the pageant process."

Berger says her preparation for the competition has been both external and internal. "In order to prepare for this pageant, I have decreased my pizza and ice cream intake significantly and have also been walking around in my heels any chance that I get," she shared. "But more importantly, I have been taking time out of each day to focus on what my core values are and what I want to represent to individuals around me."

Berger says she is most excited about meeting the other competitors in the event, but admits there are still certain aspects of the competition she is trying to become more comfortable with. "I’m thrilled that I have this opportunity to share my life experiences and ambitions with the judges and other contestants," she explained. "I’m definitely most nervous about walking on stage in a swim suit!"

Sponsors helping make Berger's participation possible in this year's event include the University of Dubuque, Rusty Berger Masonry, Inc. and Kerndt Brothers Bank. Berger graduated magna cum laude from the University of Dubuque in May 2016, having majored in Accounting, Human Resource Management and Business Administration.

Following her college graduation, she began working at Deloitte as an external auditor, and after working 10 months in public accounting she decided to pursue her Masters Degree in Business Administration at her college alma mater. She returned to the classroom in Dubuque this fall, will play one more season of her newfound athletic interest, lacrosse, for the Spartans this spring, and is currently working on campus as a Graduate Assistant in the Wendt Character Center, which brings together students who want to be proactive about developing their character and making the world around them better.

She has plans to complete her Masters in the spring of 2019 and hopes to become a Business Administration and Organizational Management professor at a small college.

This year, over $1.3 million dollars in scholarships will be available at the pageant, and 30 contestants at this year's pageants will be receiving college scholarships. In addition, this year's state titleholders will each receive thousands of dollars in prizes and awards. Most importantly, the new Miss Iowa USA and Miss Iowa Teen USA will have the opportunity to compete for the national titles of Miss USA® and Miss Teen USA®. The new Miss Iowa USA will compete with 50 other state titleholders for the coveted title of Miss USA, live on national television next spring.

"We are overwhelmed by the response and caliber of all the participants from Iowa," said Denise Wallace, executive state co-director of Future Productions, state pageant producers for The Miss Universe Organization. "There is no better opportunity for ambitious young women out there today. The Miss Iowa USA and Miss Iowa Teen USA competitions offer area women a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance their personal and professional goals."

The mission of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) is to use its global grassroots reach to empower women to be self-confident and strive to be their personal best. MUO believes that every woman should be "Confidently Beautiful." The Miss Universe®, Miss USA® and Miss Teen USA® beauty pageants provide an international platform through dedicated partnerships with charities, sponsors and brands around the world. During their reign, winners are given the tools to personally and professionally enrich others by providing humanitarian efforts to affect positive change, all while developing their personal career goals.

Area young women who are interested in participating in next year's pageant should contact Future Productions at 651-222-9650 or email, or may visit the or websites.

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