Cara Mund was crowned Miss America 2018 in September – and it’s been a wild ride for the former Miss North Dakota ever since.

“For me, the journey was never easy, and it took four years to get to the Miss America stage, so in that moment when I finally made top five, I new I had made history for the state of North Dakota,” Mund explained. “We’d never had a contestant even make it beyond the top 10. So when my name was called, it was a lot of pride, but I knew it was for more than just myself. It was for the entire state, it was for all those young girls who looked up and thought, ‘because she did it, I can do it to.”

As Miss America, Mund has many responsibilities and commitments, giving her a busy and ever-changing schedule. “Every day is different, but it can range from media to hospital visits to non-profit organizations to speaking at high schools and colleges across America to speaking to young women about empowerment,” Mund said. “So you can’t say that there’s a specific day or exactly what I do each day just because they are so different, but that’s what makes the job of Miss America that much greater.”

Given all the new opportunities facing Mund as Miss America, she knows that her experience in the pageant will change her life for the better. “I’ve had doors of opportunity open that I had never expected. And when I got to Miss America, I never expected to win,” she explained. “So the fact that all of these opportunities have presented themselves, just makes me that much more grateful. Each day as Miss America I take full advantage of it. I know after this year I won’t have those same opportunities so I really want to seek them out now.”

Currently, Mund is the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which raises funds for children’s hospitals across the nation. “One thing really unique about Children’s Miracle Network is that all the money raised in that specific city or state stays local, and so it raises funds for children’s hospitals all across America. So not only do I raise the funds, but I go into the hospitals and get to meet children,” Mund said.

While in New York, Mund enjoyed some time at the Sherry Hill fashion show during New York Fashion Week. “It was great,” she said. “Sherry Hill is actually my official gown sponsor, so it was great to see what styles are coming out for the fall and getting inspiration for my final look as Miss America. But again, opportunities I never expected, I never thought that id get to sit in the front row of Sherry Hill’s show in the spring.”

Full interview transcript:

Miss America Cara Mund On Her Win & Working With Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
February 14, 2018- Video Transcribed

Q: How did you feel when you were crowned Miss America?

A: [Cara Mund]: “Yeah so for me the journey was never easy and it took four years to get to the Miss America stage and so, in that moment when I finally made top five I knew I had made history for the state of North Dakota. We had never had a Miss America before, we had never had a contestant even make it beyond the top 10 and so when my name was called it was a lot of pride but I knew it was more than just for my-myself, it was for the entire state, it was for all the young girls who looked up and said because she did it, I can do it too.”

Q: What’s a typical day for Miss America?

A: [Cara Mund]: “Yes well there’s no typical day, every day’s different um but it can range from media to hospital visits to non-profit organizations to speaking at high schools and colleges across America, speaking to young women about empowerment um so you can’t say there’s a specific day or exactly what I do each day um just because they are so different but that’s what makes the job of Miss America just that much greater.”

Q: How has winning Miss America changed you?

A:[Cara Mund]: “Oh I, I think I’m going to be forever changed because of this, I’ve had doors of opportunity opened that I had never expected and when I got to Miss America like I said, I never expected to win and so all of the- the fact that all of these opportunities have presented themselves just makes me that much more grateful and each day as Miss America I take full advantage of it. I know after this year I won’t have those same opportunities and so, I really want to you know seek them out now.”

Q: What work are you doing with Children’s Miracle Network?

A: [Cara Mund]: “Yeah so I’m the national, global ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and one thing really unique about Children’s Miracle Network is that all the money raised in that specific city or state stays local and so it raises funds for children’s hospitals all across America and so I often, not only raise funds but I go into the hospitals to meet with children, I’ll actually be going this afternoon uh so making a huge impact.”

Q: What was it like sitting front row at New York Fashion Week?

A: [Cara Mund]: “Oh it was great, I went to the Sherri Hill show and Sherri Hill’s actually my official gown sponsor so it was great to see you know what styles are coming out for fall, kind of getting inspiration for my final look at Miss America but uh it was great and opportunities I never expected, I never thought that I’d get to sit in the front row at Sherri Hill’s Fashion Show in the spring.”