Tess Rund wears crown

Tess Rund at the Seaside Beach Run, one of the volunteer activities she participates in as Miss North Coast.

On your marks! Runners gathered at the Prom and 12th Ave. on July 16, for the Seaside Beach Run. The event encourages fitness, promotes community spirit and showcases the North Oregon Coast, providing more than 200 free youth gym memberships to Clatsop County middle and high school students. Miss North Coast, Tess Rund, 21, provided child care and a smile at the welcome tent on behalf of the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program.

What is your background?

I’m 21. I was raised in Knappa and graduated from Astoria High School. I’m going to the University of Oregon. Leann and Dave Rund are my parents. Teyl is my sister. She’s 25. They’re my biggest supporters. They come to every event — they’re awesome!

What was competing in the Miss Oregon Pageant like?

It’s been so rewarding. It was my first time being in a pageant. I met a lot of new, amazing, incredible women and I learned a lot about myself and the world around me.

How is being a pageant contestant different from being a regular student?

The biggest thing is the interview skills that come from it. That will help us getting jobs in the future. And the scholarship opportunities are super important to me. Being a junior in college and going into senior year, that scholarship help is really needed.

What are you studying in school?

My major is gender and women’s studies. I’m taking all the classes to be an early education teacher, and I’ll go to grad school after my senior year. I want to teach first grade.

How does women and gender’s studies fit in with your beauty pageant experience?

My platform is “the ideal body is your own.” My goal is to educate youth about positive image and self love. My onstage question at the Miss Oregon contest — picked at random — was, “Do you think pageants cause girls to have distorted self image?”

My answer to that was, at first you think it does, but honestly, every woman and girl teen in the pageant has their own way of being healthy and beautiful. It doesn’t matter what your body type is.

Should female beauty contests accept transgender participants?

That’s definitely been a topic of conversation. My personal opinion is that as long as they have fully transitioned, they should be eligible to compete. Because it’s a pageant for women.

If they haven’t, it kind of crosses the lines of privacy in the dressing rooms, and it could be a religious issue.

Will you do future pageants?

Definitely. I’m planning on competing in Miss University of Oregon or Miss Lane County county pageant, in February. It’s been such an enriching experience.

What will you do to prepare for the February contest?

The biggest thing is staying up on current events in Oregon, the country and the world. And the onstage competitions — walking and the swimsuit — there’s a certain way to pose yourself. I don’t have a coach. I kind of do it on my own in front of a mirror.

I’m practicing my talent, which is dance. I don’t have a dance for February, but I’ll make it up soon.

For interview skills, I like to talk with my friends. I have this one particular friend who likes to test me. She asks me interview questions.

Anything else you want to add?

If you don’t think a beauty pageant is for you, think again. It’s much more than the glitz and glam and the showy part of it. It provides so many scholarship opportunities — talent, evening gown, marketing scholarships —and develops communications skills. Just one week of spring pageant camp is worth a million dollars.

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