Reigning Miss Fort Wayne and Miss Indiana 2018, Lydia Tremaine, made history while competing for Miss America last fall.

Lydia’s been in pageants since she was 12 and it helped her develop speaking skills and confidence. However, she still struggled with body insecurities.

Lydia was the first Miss Indiana to compete with Miss America after they got rid of the swimsuit competition.

Lydia says she felt empowered by not having to wear a swimsuit during the Miss America Pageant, but recognizes some of the women feel empowered by that part of the competition. Whatever a woman’s preference, it’s all about supporting each other.

“When we as women come together and we’re like-minded, and we’re pushing each other to the next level, that’s what female empowerment is all about, just celebrating each other,” she says.

She says the pageant should be about why she deserves the scholarship, and being a role model to other girls.

“I never bought anything full-price in my journey, I struggled with my weight and how I looked. But, I decided I was going to be the person to change the stigma, and to show other women like me that they can also do this. So, whatever you set your mind to, as long as you work hard, and believe in yourself and have a positive mindset, you can truly achieve what you want to,” Lydia says.

She did just that. Lydia won the preliminary talent competition, placed in the Top 15 at Miss America and received a full-ride to college, which she’ll start this fall.