SEASIDE — The Miss Oregon pageant Saturday night was all about family.
Ali Wallace, of Portland, was crowned Miss Oregon the same night the organization celebrated the retirement of Dana Phillips, the longtime executive director of the scholarship program.
“It’s crazy because I’ve grown up watching the pageant,” Wallace said. “So to be included in the sisterhood is just surreal, and it’s hard to fathom.”
Wallace is the daughter of Tammy Fazzolari Wallace, who was Miss Oregon in 1987.
“Now she’s my mom and my sister,” Wallace joked, referring to the sisterhood of the Miss Oregon pageant winners.
As a former contestant, Fazzolari Wallace knew what her daughter was going through. And so as a mother, she worried about how Wallace — and she herself — might take disappointment.
“It was scary,” Fazzolari Wallace said. “I was so afraid of her not winning and how she might handle it.”
Wallace said you wouldn’t compete in the pageant unless you knew you had the skills to be Miss Oregon.
After that, “it was really in the hands of God and the judges,” she said.
Phillips said the judges had no idea that Wallace’s mother was a former Miss Oregon.
“She has that ability to be very endearing to people,” Phillips said. “She’s going to be a wonderful Miss Oregon.”
Wallace received a $10,000 scholarship for being crowned Miss Oregon — $10,500 total from the Miss Oregon pageant — and will move on to the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J.
Wallace’s platform issue is education and awareness about traumatic brain injury and her talent is lyrical dance, which she performed to the song “Latch” by Disclosure.
Alexis Mather, Miss Clatsop County, received a $1,500 scholarship as fourth runner-up. She received $3,250 total in scholarships from the Miss Oregon pageant.
Mather excelled Wednesday in the lifestyle and fitness swimsuit preliminary and Thursday in the preliminary talent competition with her operatic performance of “Nessun Dorma.” Her platform issue was be a mentor your own way.
Miss North Coast Hannah Garhofer did not make it into the Top 10, but she did receive the Tiffany Phillips Memorial Scholar-Athlete Award of $1,000. As a teen contestant, she automatically received an additional $200.
The event was punctuated with outpourings of love and support for Phillips from members of the pageant community, including former Miss Oregons.
“Every time I think about it I start crying,” Phillips said. “I thought I was out of tears, but I keep crying.
“The outpouring was overwhelming to me and my husband,” she added.
Now that she’s stepped down as executive director, Phillips will be able to devote time to the Oregon Scholarship Foundation — she hopes to increase the amount of scholarships available from $60,000 to more than a $100,000 for contestants.
Miss Happy Valley Hailey Kilgore was crowned Miss Oregon’s Outstanding Teen on Friday night.
The top five Miss Oregon Outstanding Teen girls included Miss Columbia River Olivia Colburn of Seaside.