This year, two Hamilton County residents won the titles of Miss Capital City and Miss Capital City’s Teen.
On Aug. 27, the winners of the Miss Capital City Scholarship Program were announced at the Theater at the Fort in Lawrence. The event is affiliated with the Miss America competition and has been an official preliminary to the Miss Indiana and Miss Indiana’s Teen competition since 2015.
Marni Lemons, co-director of the Miss City Capital Scholarship Program, said the Miss American Opportunity is the largest provider of scholarships for young women across the U.S., with the Miss Indiana organization awarding more than $80,000 in scholarships last year.
“Girls are awarded for being smart, eloquent, and community leaders, advocating for important causes,” Lemons said.
Shaylee Barnes, 20, a Zionsville resident, earned the title of Miss Capital City 2024. An undergrad at IU, she’s pursuing a BA in neuroscience with a minor in contemporary dance.
She said her journey started at age 12 after being inspired by pageant competitor Samantha Robbins, who went to the same dance studio as her when they were younger.
“She was such a talented dancer, and I wanted to be like her,” Barnes said.
After years of competing together, it was Robbins who crowned Barnes. It was a “full circle moment,” Barnes said. She looks forward to inspiring the next generation.
Sadie Cohen of Carmel was crowned Miss Capital City’s Teen. A freshman at Carmel High School, she’s a singer and actress, having performed in 20 shows since age 7.
Cohen, who was making her first pageant appearance, said she was motivated by friends who had previously enjoyed competing.
“They loved it and recommended it,” Cohen said. “I did it and had such a great time.”
As local title holders, Barnes and Cohen are set to compete for Miss Indiana and Miss Indiana’s Teen, respectively, in the coming year.