Sarah Morreim (SM): What have you learned from this week so far?
Siri Freeh (SF): One thing I’ve learned is just how much I can take and how much I can push myself. I feel I’ve become more mentally strong. This week also really shows you who you are at your rawest moments—it tests you—do you really mean what you say? I’ve learned a whole new value on being real.
SM: How are you detaching from the pressure of competition?
SF: One thing that’s helped is talking to contestants. Asking them questions about their lives. Getting outside of myself. I also like to pop in my headphones and blast some fun music—like Kesha (laughs)—that’s a helpful distraction as well.
SM: What’s something about this week that you’ve experienced that's surprised you? That you weren’t expecting?
SF: How fun it’s been to work with the Miss America sponsors. Amway has been fantastic.
SM: What was one of the questions you were asked during interview?
SF: One question that stands out is “What would you tell a child who had just been diagnosed with cancer.” I told them I didn’t know what I’d say exactly, but that I’d want to be there for that child. To comfort the child.
SM: That’s a tough question. Did they ask anything more light-hearted?
SF: Yes—the judges couldnt’t believe that I can lift an eighty-pound bale of hay. I’m from a farm and have two sisters so, yes, we had to help bale hay and do the heavy lifting. There weren’t any boys to do it.
SM: After this week is done and you either move on as Miss America or return as Miss Minnesota, what will your focus be? Has it changed?
SF: I’m even more committed now to service. I really want to put even more time into making my community a better place and my state a better place. I don’t want the focus to be so much on me, Siri Freeh—Miss Minnesota, but just me, Siri, someone who is trying to make a difference.
SM: Last question—what is it like to be on that stage?
SF: Awesome! It’s not as big as I thought it would be. It’s amazing how the stage really draws you out. How all the elements really make you shine, give you confidence. It’s exciting.