Iowa Alumni Magazine | April 2008 | People

A Beautiful Character: Diana Reed

By Tina Owen

Standing on stage in Las Vegas as one of the ten finalists for the Miss America crown, Diana Reed heard the crowd's collective gasp of disbelief.

Even though she'd already won the preliminary talent portion of the pageant with a baton twirling routine that earned a standing ovation, Reed was eliminated—losing her chance to perform on live TV before a national audience and to make history as the first Iowan to win the contest.

"It's in moments like this when our character is tested the most," says Reed, 07BA, 07BBA, who turned defeat into an opportunity to embrace the "Character Counts" platform she adopted as Miss Iowa. "Thousands of eyes watch to see what you will do, how you will react, if you have what it takes to carry on."

Reed, a former UI Golden Girl, exited the contest with her head held high. Until her Miss Iowa reign ends this June, she'll continue to inspire children across the state to adopt the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Then, she's off to New York City to pursue her dream of a Broadway career.

"It's hard not to be disappointed, but I have no regrets," she says of her pageant experiences. "I'm grateful to have represented the state of Iowa at Miss America and I'll forever cherish the memories."