DERRY — For newly crowned Miss New Hampshire Caroline Carter, winning the 70th annual competition has been about overcoming challenges and shattering stereotypes.
As confetti rained down, the Dover resident won the competition Saturday night at the Stockbridge Theatre. Carter earned a $15,000 scholarship and plans to use the money to help fund her education at the University of New Hampshire. A previous winner of the Miss Winnipesaukee title, she is scheduled to compete on a much bigger stage this September in the Miss America 2016 pageant.
Diagnosed with diabetes six years ago, the 18-year-old had to work her grueling preparation for events such as swimsuit, talent, and evening gown contests around the disease.
“Everything I’ve done has been meticulously planned so that it really showed all facets of who I am,” Carter said Sunday.
She said her biggest challenge was getting ready for the swimsuit competition.
“I would work out really hard, and I would start seeing some changes— and it was great—and then my blood sugar would drop, and I would have to eat to get my blood sugar back up,” she said.
As she criss-crosses the Granite State in the coming months, Carter said she plans to use her victory as a platform for raising awareness of diabetes.
She has been a spokesman for Medtronic Diabetes and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and plans to continue in that role.
By continuing to raise awareness for diabetes and competing again later this year, she said she hopes to help break some of the stereotypes surrounding the disease.
“As my year as Miss NH continues I would love to break that stereotype in the state of New Hampshire and hopefully on the Miss America stage as I compete in September,” she said.
Carter plans to take a year off to focus on Miss New Hampshire before attending the University of New Hampshire as a secondary education major and theater minor.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she plans to continue on and earn master’s and doctorate degrees. Eventually, she would like to work as a high school English teacher.
Carter grew up in Dover and didn’t get involved in pageant competitions until she was a freshman in high school.
She became interested in the competitions after her sister began competing. Before, she said she had focused mainly on basketball, a sport she has loved since she was a young child.
“I started out as a basketball player who didn’t think she was really going to go anywhere other than college,” she said.
“Since then I’ve become a singer; I’ve become a role model and this program has opened so many doors for me that I never could have even imagined. So, never discount the Miss New Hampshire program because it’s making a difference.”