PRYOR – When the curtain rises on the Miss Oklahoma Pageant in June, the list of contestants will include a Cherokee nation citizen.
alison Nofsinger, 18, wants to compete as “Miss Green Country” in the pageant June 5-11.
“Competing in pageants has been a lifelong dream for me, but I‘ve always struggled with confidence issues, and I was always toO afraid to participate in pageants.” Nofsinger said. “I finally decided this was the year that I wasn’t going to let my fears stop me from achieving my goals, so I entered myself in my first local pageant with the Miss America Organization.”
Nofsinger said her speaking and leadership skills have improved dramatically, as has her confidence. She wants young girls to know they can overcome fear or self-Doubt to realize their goals and dreams.
“This year was my first year competing in locals and I’m on the younger end of the age spectrum. I wasn’t expecting to win my first title this season, but to my surprise, I did,” she said. “It was an absolute dream come true, and I am still pinching myself. I can’t wait to walk across the Miss Oklahoma stage in June.”
During Miss Oklahoma, contestants will compete in four phases: private interview, onstage question and social impact pitch, talent and evening gown.
“For my talent, I will be performing a lyrical dance piece to ‘Tears of an Angel,’” Nofsinger said. “I really connect with this music because here recently I lost my Nana who I was close to. She was always at every performance and was the most supportive person I’ve ever met, but I know she will be with me on that stage guiding me in all that I do.”
Nofsinger had been dancing since age 3, and has been a scholarship student and pre-professional ballet dancer with Tulsa Dance Company since age 12. She wants to earn a master’s degree in early childhood education while pursing ballet.
When she was 16 and her father faced a diagnosis of end state renal failure, Nofsinger organized Operation Kidney Donation.
“Watching someone you love so much go through dialysis and deteriorate before your eyes is one of the hardest things a family member could imagine,” she said. “After feeling helpless for so long, I came up with the idea for OKD. Through Operation Kidney Dnation I am able to not only bring mass awareness to renal failure, but also connect living donors and people in need of transplants. On average, 5,000 people a year pass away waiting for a lifesaving kidney transplant, and I have the inclination and preparedness to change that statistic.”
Nofsinger is a member of Life Church Midtown in Tulsa and is active in the church. On Sundays, she serves as a LifeKids leader for children up to 12 years of age. On Wednesdays, she works with teens as a Switch Leader, and co-leads middle school aged girls on Wednesday evenings.
“Getting to watch their lives and relationship with Christ develop right in front of you is such a cool thing,” she said. “For Switch, I am not only on the experience team where I get to create wonderful experiences for all the students that walk through those doors, but I am also on the Social Media team. In the future, I want to apply for an internship in either Switch or LifeKids.”
Being a Cherokee citizen is a source of great pride for Nofsinger. In pageant competition, she wants to follow the paths blazed by other Native women, including Miss Tulsa and Miss America 1926, Norma Smallwood, and Miss Arkansas Teen USA 2004 and Miss Missouri 2006, Sarah French.
“Women like Norma Smallwood and Sarah French have paved the way for other Cherokee women who dream of going far in pageantry,” Nofsinger said. “I hope to one day be able to inspire other Cherokee citizens to step into the spotlight and reach for the stars just like Smallwood and French did for me.”