Meet Miss Minnesota – dancer, philanthropist & everyday shero

Real-life sheroes don’t wear capes – but some wear crowns. Meet Miss Minnesota 2018 Michaelene Karlen. She’s a pageant winner, professional dancer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who raises money to help students experience the joy and benefits of dance. Michaelene will celebrate the National Day of Dance on July 28th by sharing a special video on her Facebook page. Discover how Michaelene goes above and beyond everyday to selflessly serve others.

WHAT INSPIRED YOUR LOVE OF DANCE?

Since I could walk, I’ve always wanted to move and perform. I would line my relatives up on the couch and dance for them in my living room before making it to the New York stage later in life. 

HOW HAS YOUR CHARITY RAISE THE BARRE CHANGED YOUR LIFE?

It’s my way of giving back to the community through my art. However, I have gained so much personally through my nonprofit. Working with children brings so much joy to my life. 

WHAT HURDLES HAVE YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS? 

At a young age I broke both of my feet two times in a row. Later, while pursuing my BFA in dance in New York City, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and had to learn what I can put in my body and on my skin. This revelation was ultimately what inspired me to found my own organic skincare company, Ballerina Botanicals. 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING MISS MINNESOTA?

I love meeting children across the state and impacting them with my story. I always share with them that I grew up in a small town with big dreams. Much of Minnesota is rural, so I make sure to tell children that with hard work and determination, they can become anything they want to be! 

YOU’RE FROM THE KASSON-MANTORVILLE AREA. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN AND THE STYLE REPRESENTED THERE?

I love the quiet lifestyle in my hometown. When I lived in New York, it was loud and busy nonstop. It’s nice to relax at home in some casual wear while spending time playing with my dogs in the backyard. 

DO YOU EVER WEAR DENIM WITH YOUR CROWN? (FYI: YOU COULD PROBABLY DANCE IN OUR NEW EVERFLEX JEANS.)

All the state titleholders are attending a dance-a-thon this week in Orlando, raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’ll be grooving and having fun in some jeans! 

WHEN YOU HEAR THE PHRASE “SERVICE WITH STYLE,” IS THERE A “SHERO” WHO COMES TO MIND? 

A former dance teacher and dear friend, Rissé Miller, has four young boys and an autoimmune disorder like myself. She is an amazing mother and author of her own children’s book Real Food For Littles. Her strength and love of life inspires me to be proud of how far I’ve come on my own health journey. 

WHAT’S SOMETHING FUN MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I love to fish! I actually know how to fillet and clean fish after I catch one. 

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?

After making an impact with my nonprofit as Miss America, I would like to continue Raise The Barre, dance with an internationally touring company, and further Ballerina Botanicals to be sold in stores across the world! 

You can move along with Michaelene’s National Dance Day video on July 28th by searching @MissAmericaMN on Facebook. Don’t forget to watch her compete for the title of Miss America on September 9th. And find out how maurices is helping award scholarships to outstanding young women through the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Program here.