top of page

Cynthia Ruth Utgard America’s Civic Miss 2024 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Cynthia Ruth Utgard America’s Civic Miss 2024.

Full Name: Cynthia Ruth Utgard

Title/Year: America’s Civic Miss 2024 

Pageant System: America’s Civic Miss

Age: 27

Education Level: Current 3rd year student  at American Military University 

Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Hobbies: Swimming, paddleboarding, snowboarding, Flag Spinning/ Baton Twirling 

Platform: “life in the dark” PTSD treatment access and peer support for all first responders and veterans 

Years Competed: 1999-2004, 2013, 2022-present 

Countries Visited: United Kingdom & Canada

Likes and Dislikes: Likes: The beach, time with my dog, and being out in my community Dislike: tomatoes and cold nights 

Current Status: Single

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share a bit about who you are? Like, what are your passions outside of the pageant world? 

I’m a US army veteran, Tactical Field Dispatcher and Emergency Management Student at American Military University. Outside my career I also swim on the Great Bay Masters swim team out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. When I'm not working or swimming I volunteer at my local YMCA coaching youth swim team, teaching tumbling and swim lessons. I’m passionate about living a meaningful life serving others. In my free time I enjoy going on hikes and paddle boarding with my 5 year old Coon Hound “Boots”. We take life one adventure at a time enjoying carpool karaoke and the sunsets on our favorite Maine dog friendly Beach.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I’m curious about your education journey. What's it been like for you, any particular highlights or challenges? 

Education has been a struggle from a young age. When I was around the age of 6 I was diagnosed with dyslexia. This made reading and writing really difficult for me. It can be very frustrating, I was blessed enough to have teachers that believed in me, spending their prep blocks giving me extra help. Now that I am in a higher education and have so many tools at my disposal that makes it possible for me to be successful and overcome my learning disabilities. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Women's empowerment is such a key topic. What does it mean to you personally? 

To me Women’s empowerment is creating a positive environment for women to thrive in their passions and convictions. I am empowered by my Veteran status and my career in public safety.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How did you get into pageants? What sparked your interest initially? 

When I was young it was my mom that got me into it but when I was about 7 I decided to take time off from them. In 2012 a teammate from swimming asked if I would join her in competing in the local fair pageant. After getting 1st runner up I again walked away from pageants this time to focus on my enlistment into the US Army. It wasn't until late summer 2022 did I get back into pageants and rekindled the love for them I had as a little girl. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What motivated you to participate in your first pageant? Was there a defining moment?  In the summer of 2022 I was going through a horrible breakup and my ex said I wasn’t ambitious and no one would ever find me beautiful. One night at work the Miss For America Pageant came on my for you page on social media. I started watching, and thought “Why not try Cindy? if anything is going to prove him wrong it's doing a pageant”. When I stepped on that stage I knew I found my ambition and self confidence.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Why did you choose to compete for your current title? What made it stand out for you? 

I was introduced to the ACM system by my teenage sister. ACM was her first pageant and she was nervous about competing by herself, so when I had the opportunity to sign up to compete I took it so that I could support her in her pageantry journey.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I'd love to know more about your pageant system. Could you explain what it’s all about? 

America’s Civic Miss is all about women leaders in their community with a hard focus on being positive role models. ACM celebrates unconventional beauty and everyone's uniqueness. The national non-profit ROCK your crown Scholarship Program is for girls and women to  be able to participate in extracurricular activities.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What do you think sets your pageant director apart from others? Our national director Megan truly embraced individuality, unique personalities and unconventional beauty. She made all of us feel welcome, beautiful and fostered an environment of belonging. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: During competitions, what are the key things you're judged on?

The key things were judged on Self Expression, Role Model, Interview and Evening gown. We are judged on confidence, individuality and being a positive role model in our community.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your competition experience been like? Any memorable moments or learnings?

My competition experience has been amazing. The most memorable moments really have been off stage. For example when my original beauty sponsor had bailed on me 5 days before the pageant leaving me struggling to find someone to do my hair and makeup, I had mentioned it to a few delegates. The beautiful Mrs. Maine America, Amanda Shutes, gave me extra make up she had and reached out to a friend of hers who was a stylist. At the last minute she helped me with simple curls. The generosity was just incredible. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Would you recommend your pageant system to others? If so, why? 

Of course I would recommend America’s Civic Miss! It is a great starter pageant for those girls and women that want to try out pageantry but aren't sure where to start, with it being low cost with in person and virtual options it makes it accessible for all that want to give it a try while being an inclusive environment. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Tell me about your advocacy or volunteer work. What causes are you passionate about? 

I am an advocate for Peer Support and Mental Health Treatment access for all veterans and first responders. I see first hand every day the toll war and crisis takes on my co workers and comrades. I myself have been diagnosed with PTSD and face the demons every day. In recent years the leading cause of death in veterans and first responders is suicide. I started my platform “life in the dark” to share my story of struggling with PTSD I do Speaking engagements with police & fire departments, 911 dispatch centers and even Military reserve / national guard units to educate them on resources available to them and help the administration create peer support teams and policies that support the whole agency when there is a responder/ service member experiencing a crisis event. It's important that I share my story so that others know they are not alone. As part of that platform I have launched my own online organization Peer 10-22. Peer 10-22 is a space for Veterans and First responders to share their experiences, come together to support one another and a hub for resources while handling the trauma of work and war. It is the mission of Peer 10-22 to support our heroes everyday. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: With your title, what kinds of appearances or activities have you been involved in?

Since crowning I've had over 20 appearances, a majority in a volunteering capacity like being a celebrity server at a charity benefit dinner, Volunteering with the traveling Vietnam memorial wall. I also organized a September 11th memorial stair climb raising over $500 for charity. I've also had some really fun appearances such as parades, baseball games and being a guest Queen at a local fair pageant. My favorite appearance to date was being invited out by the Kittery Maine harbor master for HarborMaster Appreciation day to learn about his role in the safety of the waterways. I even got a chance to drive the police boat! 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share some of your achievements, both in and outside of pageantry?

Miss Maine for America Strong 2023 Miss Congeniality,

William L. Sibert Award Champion 2 years in a row  National Defense Service Medal, Miss military Star Blue Division high spokemodel award. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: In such a competitive field, what do you think makes you stand out?

Many delegates are passionate about awareness to the issues they champion and that's great but what makes me stand out is I have gone one step above to provide a solution to the problem by the launch of my website Peer 10-22 which provides resources for PTSD and mental health treatment in my community along with having a peer support discussion board where Responders and veterans can post anonymously when they are having a hard time and speak to peers and myself a trained Peer Support specialist.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I can only imagine how it feels to win. What was going through your mind when your name was announced as the winner? 

I competed with my sister  Gillian. My sister’s name was called for the winner of teen and I was so proud and ecstatic for her I wasn't paying attention at all! I cheered so loud I nearly missed the emcee who said “ mom and dad must be proud but the only question is is this house big enough to hold two queens.” It definitely took a moment to register in my head that she was saying I also was being crowned.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What does being a Beauty Queen mean to you?

Being a Beauty Queen to me is more than the “beauty”, It's focusing on the “queen”. To me a queen is a woman leader, a voice for her people. To be a queen I embody that by being the voice for change in a community that people say they appreciate it but then when we speak up for help with the demons we fight because the horrors we see are ignored.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants impacted your life?

Pageants have impacted my life by giving me a sense of purpose again, through my PTSD and trauma I lost myself in the darkness. Pageants gave me a reason to get out of bed, fight harder than I ever have and advocate for those like me. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants influenced your self-esteem and body image? 

Pageants have influenced my self - esteem and body image in such a positive way. Growing up a female athlete I have faced negative opinions on my body for a long time especially being a swimmer. Pageants have given me the confidence to be in a swimsuit and be proud of the body I’m in. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: You’re an inspiration to many. How does that feel, and what message do you want to share with others?

I feel proud to be inspirational. I know where I have come from and to know my story has inspired others; I'm proud to have made a positive difference in someone's life. The message I want to share with others is that “Life in the Dark” is a life worth living, that PTSD is real, that Peer Support and proper treatment access saves lives. I am a PTSD warrior, I fight demons in my head every day, I have struggled to get out of bed, I thought about ending everything to get some peace from the night terrors. If it wasn't for my Peer Support Network, and access to treatment options I would not be here today.  My story is not finished, I am living proof life in the dark is a life worth living, I am proof Peer Support and unrestricted access to treatment saves lives. I will not stop sharing my story and my message is there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your strategy for captivating the judges on stage? 

My strategy is to be me. Being uniquely myself  and showing my passion and personality makes me memorable. I don't have trendy dresses or outfits, I don't try to have perfect “pageant patty” answers because that's not me. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How do you prepare for competitions? Any specific routines or practices?

I prepare for competitions with my best friend every thursday. We will ask each other interview questions or put on our heels practicing posing and walking. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Got any tips for nailing the perfect pageant walk?

Some people and coaches say focus on lines but for me my secret weapon for the perfect walk is taking off my glasses! I am nearly legally blind without corrective lenses so going on stage and taking them off takes away my anxiety. I am able to relax and just do my natural walk. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Choosing the right pageant dress can be crucial. What are your tips for making the best choice? 

My tips for picking the right dress is 1. Take people with you that you trust, they are looking at you in a near perspective as the judges and  2. Find your power color, for me royal blues and bright fire engine reds I feel so empowered that it makes walking with confidence and poise much easier.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Interview rounds can be tricky. What are your strategies for a winning interview?

My strategy for the interview is that I know my platform is heavy and can be a lot for some judges to hear, I always have the mindset to never be sorry for being a voice for those that think they can’t speak up, for those suffering in silence. I show the judges the good, the bad and the ugly because all of that is what sets me apart!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Looking back, is there a moment in a competition you wish you could redo? 

I am my biggest critic, however I know I can't change the past so I focus on learning from it. I learned early on that you cannot dwell on the past but learn from it and be better next time. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What common mistakes do you see others making in contests?

I feel the most common mistake I see is focusing too much on one's self instead of the experience as a whole. The girls and women that are so hungry to win and so focused on themself they are the ones that miss out on some of the greatest opportunities that pageants have to offer. I feel sad for the ones that isolate themselves or become caddy / snarky to other girls because all they care about is winning.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Do you have any experience in modeling or acting?

I do not. 

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What are your plans or goals for the upcoming year as a Queen?

My Goals for my reign are to raise $2,000 for the Trooper Black Foundation and $5,000 for the two non-profit organizations that I have partnered with for my platform. I also plan to raise enough money to host a free Peer Support training for local agencies to attend.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Finally, what kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind? 

I am going to leave a legacy of hope and inspiration. I will inspire girls that they too can break the glass ceiling, they can be a beauty queen and a soldier, I will leave hope for those struggling with mental health by sharing my story.

Additional Information

National Director: Megan Cormier

Local Director: Brooke Hume

Pageant Website:

Photographer and Credit Details: You First Photography Limerick, Maine 

Sponsors Acknowledgment: Beauty Sponsor Jenna’s Beauty Lounge Sanford, Maine

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.

Cynthia Ruth Utgard America’s Civic Miss 2024, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, Photo by You First Photography Limerick Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr WorldClass 2023 Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment


bottom of page