- (Photo: Reuters/Steve Marcus)
Former Miss America pageant winner Teresa Scanlan recently opened up about her decision to attend Patrick Henry College, a small, Christian college in Virginia that she says allows her to be "just another student," adding that the school's conservative Christian values do not conflict with her career in the bikini-clad pageant world.
Scanlan said in a recent interview that she enjoys attending the small, conservative college located outside the suburbs of Washington, D.C. because the school's low profile allows her to be a regular student, free from signing autographs or being identified as the former "Miss America." The college promotes strong Christian values, encouraging students on its website to "demonstrate Christian living and obedience in personal growth, in the interactions of College life, and in dedication to Christian calling and service."
The former Miss America also said in the interview with the Associated Press that she doesn't think the school's conservative Christian values conflict with her pageant lifestyle, including walking the runway in a bikini and wearing form-fitting cocktail dresses.
"I have never violated my conscience. I was never compromising my morals," she explained. "For myself, I have never believed it's wrong for a female to wear a swimsuit that would show the same amount of skin a man. It's a bit of a double standard."
Scanlan, who won the Miss America pageant at the young age of 17, representing Nebraska in 2011, entered her sophomore year at Patrick Henry College earlier in August. The ambitious pageant queen is reportedly an avid member of the school's Moot Court team, placing third in the team's regional court championships last year.
Scanlan told the Christian Broadcasting Network in November 2012, a few months after her start at Patrick Henry College, that she had dreams of attending the school since she was eight-years-old. The school was founded with the help of the Home School Legal Defense Association with the goal of giving homeschooled children a platform for working their way into government and public policy. Scanlan herself was homeschooled, and therefore she told CBN that she thought Patrick Henry College would be the perfect fit.
The former Miss America went on to tell CBN that she enjoys the small government and liberal arts college because she is surrounded by people who share a similar conviction as her. She said: "[...] to be in an environment where you are inspired and encouraged and challenged by those around you every single day to be a better person [...] it's about, wow, there are still people in this world that truly care about holding themselves accountable to the highest standard possible and that could not be more important than going into a life of politics and law."
The Nebraska-native reportedly plans to pursue a career in politics, hinting that she may pursue a presidential run when she turns 35.
Although Scanlan has repeatedly advocated the importance of serving others, she has also said that she is trying to develop herself without relying too much on the pressure of outside expectations. This philosophy is reflected in a tweet she posted on September 5, when she wrote: "No one can really motivate anyone else; all we can do is motivate ourselves and hope it catches on."