Marisa Buchheit, an aspiring professional opera singer of Chicago, won Miss Illinois pageant in Marion, southern Illinois on June 14. She took over the crown from 2013 Miss Illinois, Brittany Smith. She is also the reigning Miss Chicago, becoming the first to win the title twice, in 2012 and 2014.
Marisa actually had a career ambition to become a professional opera singer. She is a soprano who can sing in seven different languages including Italian, German, French, Czech, Chinese, Thai and English.
The newly crowned Miss Illinois said that beauty pageants were her dreams since early age, but she started to compete in her late teens. "It's really a process, and you grow a lot. For me, I was naturally very shy and it was really a progression up to this point. I feel like this year, I was truly ready for it and ready to embrace everything," she explained.
Marisa is currently working as an art and choir teacher at Josephinum Academy in Wicker Park, Chicago. She said that she would use her position to promote STEM to STEAM campaign to include arts to the education framework, which has already included science, technology, engineering, and math. "That's something that I'll be trying to spread awareness for," she said.
Marisa will represent Illinois as her home state in Miss America pageant next September in Atlantic City, New Jersey.