NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - A sister pair making Nebraska history by being the first sisters to ever be Miss Nebraskas at the same time.
Megan and Allie Swanson pose for a photo at Crowns and Gowns weekend in North Platte. (Source: Holly Barraclough, KNOP TV)
Allie and Megan Swanson both hold titles for Nebraska. Allie is Miss Nebraska for the Miss America Organization and Megan is Miss Nebraska for the Miss Universe Organization.
Allie won her title in June 2019 and Megan hers this past January.
"It feels amazing, we set a record and Swansons go big or go home, so we just did that," said Allie.
Additionally, Megan was Miss Nebraska America in 2014 and is the first Nebraska woman to hold both titles.
"it feels amazing," said Megan, "I am somebody who is definitely a trailblazer. I get teared up whenever I say this, but I've worked so hard over the past four and a half years to become the woman I am today and I've had people who would love to hate that and when you're striving toward something, you're going to be somebody who is making waves and people don't always like that and so I've just grown so much as a person and I'm so incredibly humbled to have this position."
Standing at 6 foot 3 inches for Allie and 6 feet for Megan, they share clothing and they even won in each others gowns.
"Allie actually won in my Miss America talent gown and then I won Miss Nebraska USA in her evening gown," said Megan.
Beyond the pretty gowns and sparkly crowns, these women have their schooling paid for
"I'm happy to say I have my complete masters degree paid for because of Miss Nebraska which is so cool," said Allie.
"I think that's one of the greatest educational tools because so many people ask us or what's really the deal with pageants or the walk up to you and without even asking your name they'll ask , 'Well is it like Miss Congeniality?' and while everybody totally means well, I think the scholarship aspect is such a great way to cut through in the conversation and really teach people that we are highly accomplished women," said Megan.
In addition to scholarships, the pair gets to use their voice to inspire change traveling all over the state for appearances and speaking arrangements and say their titles keep them busy.
"People keep asking I’ll have you gotten to talk much and I’m like not really because I’m driving all around Nebraska and she’s flying to different cities I think I’ve seen her like twice we have five as we pass each other," said Allie.
"It’s funny because I get a car for the year, I'm the first Miss Nebraska USA to get a car for the year, so we’re going to have two Miss Nebraska cars in the driveway what the heck? What are we even going to do? It’s going to be wild," said Megan.
The women say they have a great support system backing them in their journeys.
"We’re so lucky that we had parents that I said 'yes' to our dreams," said Megan, "We weren’t raised with a silver spoon in our mouth, but we were raised with a lot of grit and parents who said 'go after it' and even though we all went to different private universities, pageants paved the way for scholarships for us."
"Our parents reactions were incredible, I’m pretty sure on the live-stream you can hear everybody screaming in my family and I had people say 'Allie I could hear you screaming over the live-stream' I was just so proud," said Allie recalling when her sister won Miss Nebraska USA.
The sisters said since they both represent different organizations, they can get some questions about the differences and they welcome it.
"We hope to be a bridge between the two organizations because I think that people think you’re either team USA or team America and there’s just no reason why it needs to be that way," said Megan, I always describe it to people it’s like they’re both sports, but they’re two different sports and we can love that, just because you love football doesn’t mean you hate basketball they’re both sports and you can both play nice in the sandbox and we’re all incredible women who are striving towards our dreams and that’s something to be celebrated."
Allie competed at Miss America in December and will give up her title in June at the Miss Nebraska competition in North Platte. Megan will compete this year at Miss USA, the date is to be announced.
Allie and Megan are the daughters of Julie and Sean Swanson of Omaha and they have an older brother Ian who is married.
"The past few weeks since Megan was crowned, my overall emotion has just been gratitude," said Allie, "I don’t take for granted that this experience hasn’t happened to a lot of people, we're really blazing the trail in a lot of ways and so I think that’s just such an exciting time for everybody and I couldn’t think of somebody better to share it with than my older sister."