Why Miss Idaho Reagan Yamauchi seeks to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ

‘It’s OK to be different, and it’s OK to stand up for what you believe in,’ Yamauchi says

When Reagan Yamauchi, a member of the Soda Springs Idaho Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was competing in the Miss Idaho pageant, she made an effort to only wear modest attire the whole week. 

She was raised to understand while growing up that modesty was important. At high school dances, she made it a point to wear a modest dress — which she acknowledged can be hard to find or less convenient for some girls. But she never wanted to justify certain clothing.

“I think ultimately it comes down to your relationship with the Savior Jesus Christ and with Heavenly Father,” she said.

When it came time to wear an evening gown in the Miss Idaho pageant in June 2023, Yamauchi — who served a mission in the Hawaii Laie Mission — wanted to showcase her personality and her values and wear something that all her missionary friends would see and be proud that she came from their mission.

“I wanted to represent them and my family, my hometown, the state of Idaho and ultimately the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Yamauchi told the Church News.

Reagan Yamauchi, from the Soda Springs Idaho Stake, wears a black dress and carries the Miss Idaho 2023 sash
Reagan Yamauchi, from the Soda Springs Idaho Stake, is Miss Idaho 2023. During the competition she decided to only wear modest clothing. | Provided by Reagan Yamauchi

Besides the evening gown portion, she wore modest clothing during all the weeklong events. Her efforts were noticed by the other Miss Idaho competitors, and especially by younger competitors for Miss Idaho’s Teen.

These young women were anywhere from age 14 to 18, and at the end of the week, before she was crowned Miss Idaho 2023, they thanked her for her example.

“They said, ‘Reagan, I want to serve a mission. I want to do some of the things that you did because of what you’ve showcased here — because you showcase more than what people in the crowd saw,’” Yamauchi said.

Yamauchi said those words made her so grateful that she made the decision early on to stand up for her values and for the gospel.

“So that way girls everywhere could understand it’s OK to be different and it’s OK to stand up for what you believe in and to really put God at the forefront of your mind and of your life and make Him a part of everything that you do.”

Reagan Yamauchi foi coroada Miss Idaho em 17 de junho de 2023.
Reagan Yamauchi was crowned Miss Idaho on June 17, 2023. | Fornecida por Reagan Yamauchi

Yamauchi said sometimes women might feel that they need to wear certain things or look a certain way to be accepted or feel like they belong. But being modest is like demonstrating “Christlike poise,” which Elder Mark A. Bragg, General Authority Seventy, spoke about in April 2023 general conference.

“When we are modest as women in the Church, we have this Christlike poise that’s shown to the world. We have this ultra confidence in something more than just ourselves.”

Basketball player, missionary and FSY counselor

Yamauchi grew up in Soda Springs, Idaho — a town of about 3,000 people. After graduating high school, she attended Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where she played on the women’s basketball team for a year and prepared for a mission.

Reagan Yamauchi during the 2022-2023 basketball season at Snow College in Utah.
Reagan Yamauchi during the 2022-2023 basketball season at Snow College in Utah. | Provided by Reagan Yamauchi

Originally called to New Zealand, Yamauchi was reassigned to Hawaii and spent her whole time in Laie. 

She said on her mission, she gained new experiences that will help her for the rest of her life because she was dedicating her time to learning about Jesus Christ and serving Him.  

“Everywhere I go I try to convey the power of a mission — and it doesn’t matter who you are,” she said. “Missions have the power to do something and to change you in a way that nothing else can.”

After returning from her mission, she again played basketball for Snow College before graduating with an associate degree in science in May 2023. 

Reagan Yamauchi while serving as an FSY counselor at Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas.
Reagan Yamauchi, wearing a green shirt second from left, while serving as an FSY counselor at Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas, in the summer of 2023. | Reagan Yamauchi

She said it can be hard for missionaries after they return home, unless they make a conscious decision to put in the effort every day to keep a relationship strong with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

“I’ve just found so much power comes from that every day in my life as I go out and as I face a day as Miss Idaho to carry the light of Christ with me wherever I go.”

Yamauchi was crowned on June 17 and left the next morning to be a counselor at For the Strength of Youth conferences in Provo, Utah. She also was a counselor at FSY conferences at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and in San Antonio, Texas.

She said she could do that every week for the rest of her life and be happy.

“When we talk about the rising generation or the youth today, they are powerful,” she said. “They give us hope, they give us strength.” 

Reagan Yamauchi takes a selfie with others at FSY at the University of Utah.
Reagan Yamauchi takes a picture during her time as a counselor during a For the Strength of Youth conference at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the summer of 2023. | Reagan Yamauchi

Using her influence for good as Miss Idaho

Yamauchi plans to go to BYU-Idaho and major in business with a minor in communications. She has been giving Church youth devotionals in Idaho and traveling around the state for duties that come with being Miss Idaho. 

In early 2024, she will compete in the Miss America pageant and next June she will pass her Miss Idaho crown to the next winner.

At the end of this phase of her life, she wants to look back on it and hope she has made a difference and used her influence for good.

“I hope that those people that I’ve interacted with or that I’ve talked to …  I hope that they walk away with a greater confidence and a greater hope that they can do what’s right in difficult moments in their lives,” she said.

Most importantly, she hopes they will turn to Heavenly Father at all times and know He loves them, cares for them and knows exactly what is happening in their lives.

“And that hopefully they will stand proud at the last day when they stand before Heavenly Father to be judged with Christ as their advocate and that I’ve given them hope and strength to be confident at that day,” Yamauchi said.

Related Stories
Meet Sarah Sun, Miss Utah 2023 and a Latter-day Saint convert committed to serving others
A historic summer of FSY: How to keep the spiritual momentum going
Church creates new Laie Hawaii Mission — second in state, 408th worldwide
What I learned from FSY: A young adult counselor shares her experience
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed