The Hippo


Jun 1, 2020








Marisa Moorhouse. Courtesy photo

 What are you into right now?

I’ve been watching The Office pretty much nonstop. I’m on my third time through. It’s something I can watch when I’m stressed or nervous, and it will always make me laugh.

Granite crown
Miss NH prepares to compete on the national stage


 Marisa Moorhouse of Manchester was crowned Miss New Hampshire 2018 this past April and is now preparing to compete in the 2019 Miss America Competition. In June, the Miss America Organization announced it would eliminate the annual swimsuit portion and allow contestants to wear the “evening attire of their choosing” for the traditional evening gown competition. Moorhouse will compete in qualifying competitions held from Wednesday, Sept. 5, through Friday, Sept. 7. The final competition will air on Sunday, Sept. 9, from 9 to 11 p.m. on ABC.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’m a recent grad of Manchester Memorial High School, and I’m starting the aviation operations and management program at Southern New Hampshire University. ... I’m attending on full scholarships for my academics and from my participation in Miss New Hampshire and Miss America competitions. … After I graduate, I want to become a commercial pilot. I’ve always loved flying and traveling. Even as a passenger, I love looking out the window, and I feel this level of freedom. … Orientation was a little intimidating. I was the only girl walking in the room, and on the first day of actual class, I was thrown into an airplane. It was my first time flying a small plane. We fly out of the Nashua Airport.
When and why did you start competing in these kinds of competitions?
I started competing a year ago in Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen Competition. I’ve been passionate about dance for a long time, and I’ve always enjoyed being up on stage in front of people. I thought I’d give it a shot, and I ended up being a runner-up. I started competing in Miss New Hampshire this year. ... To compete, you have to be 17 to 25 years old, identify as female and qualify through a local competition. ...  I didn’t put much pressure on myself, because I wasn’t focused on winning. I just wanted to have a good time. ... I won at the Manchester level, and then I took home the crown. It was really exhilarating. 
How does the competition work, and what are you planning to do for each part?
Wednesday night I’ll have a 60-second on-stage question and interview session. Thursday is the evening gown portion, and we’ll each give a verbal statement about our platform, which is our community service project. ... I created an organization at age 16 called Art in Motion. I’ve been traveling the state teaching dance classes and trying to influence youth and kids at different schools and organizations about confidence and having a positive body image. These messages aren’t really being shared when they’re younger, and by the time they get to high school, they’ve already developed a sense of self. … Friday is the talent portion. I’m dancing to a remix of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. I picked it before she passed away, but I’m excited to be able to do a tribute to her. … Sunday is the final night, when Miss America will be crowned. 
Is preparing for Miss America different than for Miss New Hampshire?
The biggest difference is the packing and what you need to bring. Miss New Hampshire is only four or five days, but for Miss America, I’ll be gone for 15 days. Plus there are a lot more girls competing. 
How do you feel about the new rule changes?
At first, it definitely startled me, and I was bummed. But no matter what stage I’m on or what the rules are, I’m excited to compete and have a good time. I did really enjoy the swimsuit portion, and it was actually really beneficial to my physical and mental health. I struggled with an eating disorder and my body image, and I realized I couldn’t walk on that stage [for the Miss New Hampshire competitions] and not be confident about who I am. So I worked hard to overcome my struggles so I would be able to walk across the stage. … There still is an evening attire portion, but we can wear whatever we want, whether that’s a gown or a pant suit. We’re not only being judged on our elegance and grace, but also on a verbal statement about our platform. 
— Scott Murphy 

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