The Maine Academic Scholarship Pageant crowned University of Maine graduate student Maylinda Boynton as USA National Miss Maine 2021 this past weekend. In addition to this honor, Boynton won the Role Model portion of the competition with her impressive portfolio of accomplishments. Boynton also won the Spokesmodel Award after presenting a video advocating for Camp Kesem at UMaine, which offers free summer camps for children who have been impacted by a parent’s cancer.
Not only is Boynton a full time graduate student studying human development, but she also has spent four and a half years of undergraduate career participating in various band groups at UMaine including marching band, pep band, symphonic band and concert band. So it’s not a surprise the talent portion of the competition, Boynton played the tuba.
This year USA National Miss Maine had an in person competition with strict COVID-19 precautions in place. Audience members’ temperatures were taken, there was limited seating, social distancing was enforced and contestants wore masks backstage.
“It was amazing that they could do it and make it work,” Boynton said.
Boynton entered the competition with no expectations, but to have fun and meet new friends. It was Bonyton’s success on the UMaine Homecoming court in 2018 that opened the door to pageants for her, but her ultimate decision to enter the pageant was focused around her family.
“My dad was in the hospital, and he was not doing well at the time, so we talked about it as a family and we knew that we really needed something to look forward to,” Boynton explained.
In addition to her family considerations, Boynton also competed as a trailblazer of the body-positivity movement in pageantry.
“I chose to do this also for my own self esteem — just because growing up being larger you never see yourself as beautiful, you’re never told that you are,” Boynton said. “So it was really cool, especially when I won, everyone was so kind to me and so nice and saying ‘I’m so glad that you’re doing this to represent girls that look like you.’ That was another reason that I did this, because I wanted to represent the people that don’t get to do these types of things.”
Boynton hopes that her success serves as an example to anyone trying something new.
“If people are interested in trying something different, like this was so far out of my comfort zone, just go for it,” Boynton encouraged.
Boynton will compete next summer for the title of USA National Miss. The competition will be held in Orlando, Florida at Disney World on July 4-10. The prize package of this competition will be worth over $100,000.00. The state of Maine is lucky to have such a zesty, confident and radiant representative at the National Miss pageant. Boynton represents Maine values with her work ethic, kindness and consideration of her family.