Brooke Kilgarriff

Miss Minnesota 2009

She auditioned for American Idol on a whim—and made it to Hollywood. She competed in her first pageant on a dare—and took the Miss Minnesota title. Now, Brooke Kilgarriff, the 21-year-old Eagan native and Boston Conservatory musical-theater student, is the dark horse to win Miss America on January 30. Here, the plucky girl-next-door takes off her tiara and gets personal.

Music icon: Celine Dion. Performance venue: The Fitzgerald Theater. American Idol moment: Helping Chris Daughtry with his lyrics! Album: Wicked: The Musical. Book: No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps. Cause: Children’s Miracle Network. Pageant surprise: There’s no drama or cattiness. Miss Minnesota memory: Performing the national anthem. Hair product: Bumble and Bumble Straight. Lipstick: Nars Shanghai Express. Skincare: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Peel. Workout: Self-defense classes with my brother. Way to escape: Swimming laps. Restaurant: Ciao Bella. Hotdish: Chicken and rice. Family tradition: Matching pajamas on Christmas. Winter activity: Sledding on lunch trays. Favorite thing about Minnesota: The theater community. Indulgence: I allow myself a little chocolate every day while I’m competing. Ritual: Before going on stage, I always ask the nearest person if there’s something in my teeth.