Miss Oregon USA Candidate Caitlen Monnone Raises Awareness In The Fight Against Ovarian Cancer

In 2017 in the United States 22,440 women received a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. 

The beautiful Caitlen Monnone, who will be competing for the crown of Miss Oregon USA 2018 later this year, is now seeking to raise awareness of the disease, so that other women can look out for some of the signs and receive treatment early - "This year, my inspiration has been my mom and her battle with ovarian cancer. I will be channeling her confidence, strength, and beauty on the stage. I hope to achieve my long-term goal of becoming Miss Oregon USA and take my platform Ovarian Cancer Research and service to a national level" she explained. The symptoms, which can often be subtle and overlooked, include persistent stomach pain, persistent bloating, needing to pee more often, back pain, changes to bowel habits and feeling tired all the time. 

Women of all ages are at risk, especially those with a family history of breast, colon or ovarian cancer. Risk increases with age, however.

I had the opportunity to interview Caitlen on her preparation for the next Miss Oregon USA Pageant. If she wins she will have the opportunity to compete at Miss USA 2018. The state has never won the competition however the highest placed Miss Oregon USA was Gail Atchison who finished 2nd runner-up to Barbara Peterson in 1976. The most recent finalist was Jennifer Murphy in 2004. 

Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?

I am a graduate of Oregon State University. I received my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science where I specialized in Aquatic Biology. I also obtained a Geographic Information Science (GIS) Certificate. 

In the past, I was a marine biology volunteer at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. I also completed a snow-hydrology internship where I measured snow depth, density, and reflectance, and I created maps for our study areas in the Cascade Range.   

I am currently a journalist for Sports Blog (SB) Nation. I have covered both PAC-12 and WNBA games.   

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You will compete at the Miss Oregon USA Pageant, how will you prepare the contest? What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants? 

In years prior, I have prepared for the pageant mentally and physically with my fitness, interview practice, and staying up to date with current events, in addition to getting my wardrobe together and stage practice. Initially I entered the Miss USA system to come out of my shell and find a new expressive outlet. The Miss Oregon USA pageant challenged me and gave me just that! 

What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?

Over the years of competing, I have become empowered and gained a new confidence within myself. This organization provides fantastic networking opportunities and a broad reach to project my message of strength and authenticity. 

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Caitlen and her mom - "On April 9th I was told that my mom has ovarian cancer. I refused to believe it because I didn’t want it to be true. Cancer is a confusing and terrifying word, and the diagnosis was overwhelming for us as a family. One of my fears was how my mom would react to loosing her hair during her chemotherapy treatments. She surprised me by how gracefully she accepted it, and somehow, when the time came to shave her hair, she only became more beautiful. Her light and spirit radiate from her."

Many misses have said that their dream since a child was to participate in a pageant as prestigious as Miss World (or Miss Universe). It it your case ? And if so, why ?

I remember watching the pageant in awe every year when I was young, but the thought of actually competing never crossed my mind! As I got older, I realized this was in fact an obtainable goal that required a lot of dedication and discipline. Pageantry really is a lifestyle that I’m so glad I adopted, as it has enriched my life beyond any stretch of my imagination!

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

I’ve never been disappointed with myself. This is just that- a journey. Every year I get better and better and learn more about myself, my growing potential, and my capacity to learn. 

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We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference?

Pageants are constantly evolving making them valuable and impactful in society. Now more than ever, pageant titleholders are beacons of hope in our seemingly ever changing and tumultuous world. As a Miss Oregon USA, I want to make a difference by following in the footsteps of women before me and continue to represent all things strong, genuine, and empowering. 

What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

I’d say that your dreams are 100 percent accessible and achievable! You are always enough and should never doubt yourself. And even when you do, to realize that it’s just a part of life and growth. Surround yourself with supportive, loving people who will push you to be your very best self. And of course, remember that a true queen puts others first, with a kind and open heart

Who is your ideal beauty queen and how has she helped you to evolve as a beauty queen?

I’ll never forget when I met Pia Wurtzbach at Super Bowl 50. I was dressed in my super fan outfit (wig and all) and she couldn’t have been nicer to me. I later saw her again at Miss USA and she actually remembered me! Her taking that time and attention made me realize what a genuine woman she truly is and that is something, even as Miss Portland USA 2017, that I try to remember during every encounter with people I have.


Thanks to the beautiful Caitlen for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss Oregon USA pageant.