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Meet Miss Camden County

Meet Miss Camden County

It all started when Madison Alterman fell in love with a prom dress.

In 2010, when she was a senior at Eastern Regional High School, she spotted a dress she had to have. It had been custom made for a pageant girl, who decided not to compete at the last minute.

It fit her perfectly. And, the woman who helped her find it also happened to be involved in the Miss Camden County competition.

A pageant dress and pageant connection — why not?

Alterman, 19, said she never thought of doing a pageant before, but she had performed in musical theater and was willing to give it a shot.

That year, she had a relative’s wedding to attend the weekend of the Miss Camden County competition, so she decided to try something else in the meantime to see if she was ready to embrace the world of pageantry.

That summer, she competed in the National American Miss event, which consisted of an interview and an evening gown walk. She finished in the top 20.

After her first taste of pageantry, Alterman said she was excited to compete in the Miss Camden County event, which was held in November at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in West Berlin.

Fourteen young ladies competed in the Teen Division and five competed in the Miss Division.

In November, Alterman was crowned Miss Camden County 2012.

“It sounds cliché, but I just wanted to have fun with it,” Alterman said.

Alterman said the process of preparing for the pageant was enjoyable.

“I kept it low-key. I did my own nails and wore my hair straight. I had to practice my talent and practice walking in heels,” Alterman said.

In addition to her title, Alterman also won the interview award, which was one of four competitions at the event. She sang Adele’s “Someone Like You” for the talent portion — and she strutted her stuff in the evening gown and bathing suit competitions.

With her new crown in tow, Alterman advances to the Miss New Jersey competition, which will be held in June in Ocean City. If she wins there, she’ll advance to the Miss America Pageant later this year, which made its big move from Atlantic City to Las Vegas in 2006.

As she dreams big about what’s ahead for her, Alterman said she’s spending more time in the community meeting residents and sharing her message of anti-bullying, which she spoke of in the interview with the judges.

So far, she’s participated in the Collingswood Thanksgiving Parade and the Katz JCC Character Breakfast.

She said she hopes to go to local schools in the near future to provide students with an anti-bullying message of how to use conflict resolution and communication. Alterman’s mother, Nancy, said her daughter’s message is one many young students should hear. She said she hopes Madison’s own self-confidence can inspire and empower those around her.

“(At the competition) she was really relaxed and had fun because she’s comfortable being herself,” Nancy Alterman said. “She wants to help develop confidence in others and give them the courage to stand up to them.”

Alterman is also on a path that would allow her to share her message with an even larger audience.

She’s a student in Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater and is also working toward a business minor. She said her interests are in business, event planning and sales, and she hopes to someday work as a television news anchor.

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