Howland resident and reigning Miss Ohio Heather Wells is busy preparing for the 2014 Miss America Competition being held today in Atlantic City, N.J.
In addition to modeling, she also will be dancing for her talent and be answering questions from the judges during an interview segment.
Her platform for the event is "Divorce Recovery for Youth."
Special to the Tribune Chronicle
Howland’s Heather Wells, the reigning Miss Ohio, competes for the title of Miss America at 9 p.m. today in Atlantic City, N.J. The competition airs on ABC affiliates.
The competition airs at 9 p.m. on ABC affiliates.
Wells, a Howland High School and Kent State University graduate, is the second Miss Ohio in recent years to come from Trumbull County. Amanda Beagle - also a Howland grad - was crowned in 2004.
While still a child, Wells began competing in fair pageants to show off her dance routines. She made six attempts at the Miss Ohio title, starting competition as a high school senior.
WHEN: 9-11 p.m. on ABC (Time Warner position 6)
WHO: Howland native Heather Wells represents Ohio
Her grandmother, Doris Watkins, 70, of Warren, said she remembered watching Wells win at competitions at the Eastwood Mall or local fairs. Wells and her mother moved in with Watkins after Wells' parents divorced when she was about 3 years old, something that played into her platform as a Miss America hopeful.
"I just thank the Lord I had the opportunity to watch her grow up," Watkins said after Wells was crowned Miss Ohio.
"It really hasn't sunk in," Wells said at the time. "I feel very calm, cool and collected about the whole thing, which is why I know it hasn't sunk in."
She holds a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and is pursuing a master's degree in nutrition from Kent State University. She plans to become a registered nutritionist and hopes to work as a health correspondent for a news network.
As Miss Ohio, Wells received a $10,000 scholarship from Newman Technology and a vehicle for her year of service from Graham Automall.
Though proudly representing the Buckeye State, during introductions earlier this week, Wells took the opportunity to poke fun at one of Northeast Ohio's less proud moments.
In a nod to still-sore Cleveland Cavaliers fans, she tweaked basketball star LeBron James, whose defection to the Miami Heat enraged the Buckeye State.
"I won't be taking my talents to South Beach because they're right here in Atlantic City!" she said, riffing on the wording of James' nationally televised announcement of where he would sign as a free agent.
The 53 hopefuls - one from each state as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District Of Columbia - will receive scores in categories including talent, swimwear and evening wear, and onstage interviews.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.