ELKHART — Mekayla Diehl, of Elkhart, was named Miss Indiana USA on Sunday, Nov. 3.
She said on Monday, Nov. 4, that holding a statewide title is a dream she’s had for a long time.
“I’m still on cloud nine, especially when I walked out into my living room this morning and saw my crown and banner sitting on my couch,” Diehl said.
Diehl started in pageantry in the early 2000s, when she won the title of Cass County 4-H Fair Queen in Michigan. She went on to win the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Queen and Bristol Homecoming Queen titles in 2007. She also competed in the Miss America contest and won Miss Wabash Valley and Miss Elkhart County. In 2012, Diehl was the second runner up to Miss Indiana.
“In November of 2012, I competed for the first time for Miss Indiana USA, and I got into the top 10,” Diehl said. “Then I came back this year to compete, and I came home with the title.”
Diehl said that she prepared for the contest this year by working out intensely for nine months, and doing runway practice and mock interviews. Two people who provided a lot of support during this time, she said, were her best friend and boss, Ashley Swathwood at Ashley Renes, a formal gown store in Elkhart; and her trainer, Amy Dyan, owner of The Inferno gym in Elkhart.
Diehl’s platform is Bashor Children’s Home in Goshen. She said she was introduced to Bashor during an Elkhart County Has Talent fundraiser.
“There were a lot of kids there that had a lot of issues, and they are going through things like I did, at a young age,” Diehl said, explaining that she was a victim of child abuse, and was raised by her grandparents.
She continued, “As Miss Indiana USA I hope to promote (Bashor’s mission) and continue fundraising efforts. I also hope to get in volunteer time there, specifically with the girl’s program.”
Diehl will also be preparing for the June 2014 Miss USA contest in the coming months.
She said that she’s encouraged by the support she’s received from local people.
“I’m proud to be able to represent Elkhart so well,” she said. “It’s overwhelming and humbling to see that Elkhart truly backs fellow Elkhart people.”
Organizations interested in asking Diehl to volunteer or make an appearance on their behalf may call 724-785-4648.