A headshot of 2022 Miss Maine Earth USA Sarah Phelps of Southwest Harbor in what she refers to as “full glamor mode.” PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH PHELPS

Sarah Phelps named Miss Maine Earth USA

2022 Miss Maine Earth USA Sarah Phelps smiles in a yellow pastel dress as she competes for a title in a beauty pageant.

SOUTHWEST HARBOR— Out of several applicants, Sarah Phelps of Southwest Harbor was chosen to represent the state of Maine in the Miss Earth USA beauty pageant. 

The Mount Desert Island High School graduate will wear the Maine sash at the beauty pageant that is set to take place in Orlando, Fla. Phelps will be there for the entire week leading up to when Miss Earth USA will be televised on Jan. 7, 2023. 

Established 17 years ago by Carousel Productions Inc., Miss Earth USA is an annual beauty pageant that promotes environmental awareness. It’s a preliminary competition that selects a representative from the U.S. for the worldwide Miss Earth pageant. Though the Miss Earth franchise is fairly new, it is considered one of the four major international beauty pageants in the world. Unlike others who host a statewide competition, Maine’s Miss Earth USA organizers select one among several contestants based on their application for advancement to nationals. After graduating high school in 2015, Phelps earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2019 and received a master’s degree in Sports Leadership with a focus in Sports Psychology from the University of Miami in 2021. 

Phelps has only been participating in beauty pageants for three years and has placed in the top four in each one. In the Miss Maine USA competition, Phelps took home fourth place in 2020, second place in 2021 and third place this year. It wasn’t until this year that she made her first attempt to apply for Miss Maine Earth in March. A month later, the organization made the announcement that Phelps was the winner. 

“My focuses are not tied to the environment directly, but my specialty has always been interacting with the youth population and I think the most change can be made in that way because they’re the ones that are going to take control of what’s going on in our world when they grow up,” Phelps said. 

Phelps’ initiative this year will be geared toward taking care of the environment while being active outdoors. 

In 2018, another island native, Marina “Rosie” Gray, won the title of Miss Maine USA and advanced to the top 10 in the national competition. Gray also helped mentor Phelps through her last pageant. 

“Miss Earth has been getting a lot of traction recently and they do a really good job of making it an all-inclusive environment, so a lot more applicants are starting to apply,” Phelps said. 

Judges ultimately place contestants based on their performance in a series of pageant segments. Phelps will select one sponsored swimsuit style for the swimwear competition, chose one dress for the evening gown portion and prepare her best talking points for the interview segment. 

“Getting to be at this event with the 50 other girls that are competing will be really, really amazing,” Phelps said. 

To prepare for the pageant, Phelps aims to develop her platform so fellow Mainers can get to know her. More information about her candidacy will be posted on her Miss Maine Earth Instagram and Facebook pages. 

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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