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Miss North Dakota Teen USA reaches secret dream

Caitlyn Vogel, left, stands on stage with Miss Alabama Teen USA Kalin Burt, Miss Connecticut Teen USA and Miss Teen USA winner Kaleigh Garris and Miss Nevada Teen USA Erica Bonilla. Special to Forum News Service via Minot Daily News1 / 2
Caitlyn Vogel, Minot, competed against 51 other pageant girls for the title of Miss Teen USA at the end of April. She ended the competition as first runner-up. Special to Forum News Service via Minot Daily News2 / 2

MINOT, N.D. - Many little girls may look at the women who take the stage of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant competitions and dream of being up there someday. For Minot native Caitlyn Vogel, it was a secret dream she didn't think was possible.

Then she was crowned Miss North Dakota Teen USA six months ago and now won the title of first runner-up of the Miss Teen USA competition at the end of April.

Vogel is the second Miss North Dakota Teen USA, joining Fargo's Audra Mari in 2011, to place as high as first runner-up on the national stage.

Growing up in Minot, Vogel came from a large family and was always more of a sports person than a beauty queen. She took the chance at pageantry after she received the letter in the mail and her dad pushed her to take the chance.

She was nervous for her first competition, but she let her true light shine through and won the crown. In the time since, she says she has grown in many ways and it was this experience that helped her win first runner-up.

"Seeing my six months of growth, change of mindset and sense of self, I was confident and calm on the national stage which played a huge role in me becoming first runner up," she said.

Vogel said hat the first six months of her being Miss North Dakota Teen USA has really helped her grow. She has enjoyed all she's gotten to do, the impact she has been able to have and the many people she has met, especially the young girls she is getting the chance to be a role model to.

"It so great to see myself in all the little girls I talk to, knowing they are setting their dreams big which ultimately is the first step for success," Vogel said.

Being a role model is something she takes very seriously. Vogel has a presence on social media, is a model for a local boutique, is a community volunteer, a student, a respite care provider and a nanny, so she has many children who look up to her.

"Ever since I was a freshman in high school, my actions were predetermined by my thought 'is this something i would want a little girl looking up to me to do?' If the answer was no, I simply wouldn't do it," Vogel explained.

This is the mindset she still uses today, saying she's always had an "inner mom" that constantly looks out for the youth. For her, being a good role model is one of many ways she can help them.

Vogel has really enjoyed the experiences she's gotten from being Miss North Dakota Teen USA. She feels accomplished from getting to take part in the Miss Teen USA competition and getting to be a part of the 51 contestants.

"Going to the competition I had a great sense of self and an amazing support system that I knew whatever the outcome may be, I would be coming home to people who love me," she said.

This helped her throughout the competition to feel little pressure to be a certain way or to be the best.

"I went simply as Caitlyn Vogel and let my true light shine and the judges were able to see that, finishing first runner-up in a very elite competition," said.

Vogel plans to happily finish her year as Miss North Dakota Teen USA by making appearances across the state. She will be starting the nursing program at Minot State University this fall.