BETA

Standing her ground on the national stage

"It's your funeral," Katie Millar, Miss Utah 2006, was told during preliminaries for the 2007 Miss America Pageant. This reply was in response to Katie's choice of modest gowns. Designers and sponsors thought she should choose otherwise, but she stood her ground.

And made the top 10 in the pageant.

Of the thousands watching the then-20-year-old, at the time a member of the Highland Utah East Stake, one was a Mia Maid from Utah who had heard Miss Utah speak on modesty during a Young Women Standards Night.

After listening to Katie, the young girl told her mother, "We've got to watch Miss America. I've got to see if Katie does what she said she'd do."

Later, Katie was told the girl's mother just sat back watching the program — and shaking. "Please, please, please," she said to herself, hoping for her daughter's sake that Miss Utah would appear on stage wearing a modest gown.

She did.

The daughter shouted, "Yes! She did it!"

Dressing modestly started early for Katie. As a young woman, she helped her mother sew modest prom dresses and dance costumes. She and her mother later altered the gown she would wear in the Miss America pageant. An electrical violinist, she won the title of Miss Utah in 2006 and prepared for the Miss America Pageant in January 2007.

She calls the week of the pageant one of the most challenging weeks of her life as designers grew frustrated with her. "I was just so bombarded that it was hard to pull through, but once I did, all of sudden, the light shown through."

Katie made the top 10 and went on the national stage on Jan. 29, 2007, where she was able to represent two platforms — juvenile diabetes and modesty.

She doesn't regret a moment, even after a man from Utah approached her afterward at an autograph signing and chided her for her modesty. "You were our one chance for Miss America and you blew it," he told a surprised Katie.

"I'm sorry, sir, I can't change who I am. I guess no crown is worth it," she replied.

To Katie Millar, "Our divine inheritance lies in who we are and who we become and that has nothing to do with how the world views you."

Somewhere out there, a young woman who watched Miss America with her mother agrees.

• Katie Millar married Brent Wirig in the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple on July 14, 2007.

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