Danamarie McNichol had always dreamt of being in the Miss. America pageant. When she was 16, she went to the miss America pageant as a spectator and saw all the girls and the whole production and asked herself, “What do I need to do to get there?”. That began her journey in pageantry which eventually led her to her ultimate goal of competing in Miss America! Talk about a go-getter. 

She likes to think of her role as Miss. Washington as the “Peace corps with a crown”. With the scholarships she has been granted, Danamarie is able to really help and do things that she enjoys for this year. 

Danamarie graduated from Gonzaga in 2017 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After graduation, she landed an incredible job as a general reporter for KREM.

The Miss America pageant consists of:

-10 minute interview

-Talent portion

-On stage question

-Swimsuit (Recently removed from the competition – this was the first year Miss America was not based on physical appearance.)

-Evening gown

All of those things go to bettering yourself and improving your skills as a woman.

What is your mission as Miss. Washington? 

“Roll with it, empowerment through wheelchair adaptive sports”.

Danamarie was born with hip dysplasia which is the foundation of why she chose to advocate for wheelchair adaptive sport. She has had the opportunity to work closely with Parasport Spokane – an organization that helps train young athletes with physical disabilities. Many people in the organization are currently training for the 2020 paralympics in Tokyo. This is the first year olympic and paralympic gold medalists are paid the same amount for their winnings. An amazing accomplishment for the paralympic community!

Danamarie started this program when she was 14, working with kids at a sports camp. 90% of the people she’s worked with are physically disabled and not mentally disabled. She has especially loved seeing their passion and drive to succeed and compete in something they believe in. 

At this time, there are only nine wheelchair basketball teams on the collegiate level. With the help of Danamarie, Eastern Washington University is starting the first team on the west coast and she is so excited to be a part of it all. 

Who were you close with at Miss. America?

My roommate was Miss Florida. She was also a piano player who ended up winning third runner up. She trained her whole life and thought she would be a concert pianist. She was absolutely incredible.

“Being a part of Miss. America is so fun because you end up with a girlfriend in every state from Alaska to Maine.”

What is your Miss America talent?

Piano. In the competition, I played Pirates of the Caribbean. It’s one of my favorite songs to play ever. I grew up playing classical but now I like to play more modern, fun songs.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I loved exploring when I lived in Spokane, and running through River Front Park. On a typical Saturday morning, I would walk around the park, grab a smoothie at method, then go hang out at Gonzaga. Kendall Yards is another one of my favorite places.

I don’t think there’s a better place to be in Washington in the Fall. People are so excited to be here! It’s so walkable, there are new markets going in around town, even the Tiny House movement is coming to Spokane.

“People say Disney Land is the happiest place on earth, but I think Gonzaga is the happiest place on earth.”

Where do you like to eat around Spokane?

Yards Bruncheon, Luna, Twigs, Tortilla Union – I love their watermelon & arugula salad- it’s one of my favorite salads in all of Spokane. Flying Goat Pizza is a classic. Oh, and Clover.

Where do you like to shop around Spokane?

River Front Park and Nordstrom Rack in the Valley.

What can we expect in the future?

I have the Miss. Washington title until July 1st then I hope to go back to story-telling. Whether it’s on a network as a news reporter or just telling my personal story as a human being. I love sharing stories and taking my skills of being able to shoot, edit, and write my own content and showcase the incredible people in this world. Whatever platform that may be on. The world is your oyster!

You’re on death row, what would you choose for your last meal?

Definitely a bagel with cream cheese as my appetizer with some really good Italian Baked Ziti.

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Gun – a girls gotta eat
  3. A very large journal

What is your favorite cereal or ideal breakfast?

I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch but I’ll never buy it. Raisin Bran is my go-to. If I was at brunch I would do Eggs Benedict or obviously Bagels.