With absolutely every bit of respect to every single one of the other candidates, Sarah Tubbs may have deserved to be Miss New Hampshire more than anyone ever has.
Tubbs has competed in the Miss New Hampshire program for six years. Three of the past four previous times (2015, 2017, 2018) she was one of the final two, each time hearing the other candidate’s name announced as the winner. This time, it was hers.
“I’d been so prepared to hear that other girl’s name…so, I was standing there with Jana El-Sayed, and preparing her to get called, because that’s what I’m used to doing – taking care of the other person.”
It took perseverance to keep trying – this year, it was Tubbs’s last year of eligibility in the Miss America system. To further test her inner strength, Tubbs is still dealing with the tragic loss of her boyfriend, who passed away in a boating accident last summer. But she seemed to turn grief into strength, dedicating her lyrical dance to her lost love, and subsequently impressing the judges.
“It’s all about timing,” she said, shortly after her crowning, adding that after her first year, she came back because she loved being part of the production numbers, but also she realized that she was living a life of service and being a role model anyway, so she might as well be earning scholarship money at the same time.
Tubbs said that each year that she came within a hair’s breadth of the crown, she did feel discouraged, asking herself what she was missing, but she also came around to believing that it was for a reason.
“It gave me the guts to say ‘I’m going to live a life of service. I’m going to Africa, and I’m starting a non-profit,’” she said.
Tubbs co-founded Choose Love International, and has visited Africa to teach and care for disadvantaged children. She said she would likely not have taken on those endeavors had she won the state title earlier, but they enriched her life, and quite likely helped her take home the crown this year.
The new Miss New Hampshire was the first to win a state pageant under the new Miss America 2.0 rules, which eschews the swimsuit competition in favor of a revamped social impact/gown phase of competition, known as the “red carpet.”
Tubbs said she hadn’t yet had it sink in that she’ll be competing for the Miss America crown, but another previous experience may have prepared her for that.
“I was lucky enough in 2015 to compete in the National Sweetheart Pageant,” she said. “I’ve competed with 50 girls before, so I’m more ready for that now.”
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