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A “surreal feeling” for winner of Miss Maine for America

Nicole Chamberland of Mechanic Falls is crowned as the 2020 Miss Maine for America by the 2019 winner, Jenn Richardson at the second-annual pageant on Sunday at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in South Portland. The virtual event saw three contestants for the Miss Maine for America title, and seven contestants for the Mrs. Maine America title. (Sandra Costa photo)

by Nathan Tsukroff

“It is such a surreal feeling” to be named Miss Maine for America in the second year of this division of the pageant, according to winner Nicole Chamberland of Mechanic Falls.

Competing in a division created in 2019 for women older than 18 that are not currently married, Chamberland was one of three competitors for the title this year. Seven women competed for the title of Mrs. Maine America, with Meghan Gray wearing the crown after the event on Sunday at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel in South Portland, across from the Maine Mall.

“I am beyond honored to be representing our state throughout the year and at Nationals,” Chamberland said. She will be heading to the Miss for America pageant in Las Vegas later this year to vie for the national title. The date has not been set, due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mrs. America pageant has usually been in August, with the Mrs. World pageant in November.

Debra Pronovost, executive state director of the Maine pageants for Mrs. America and Miss for America, said that national director David Marmell wanted to highlight single women 18 and over and give them a system to celebrate their accomplishments and a platform to continue initiatives in their communities that are important to them. 

This year’s contestant group consisted of accomplished women from across the state and was smaller than last due to concerns with COVID-19. The pageant date was moved three times, Pronovost said. The local organization partnered with the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention to conduct a safe pageant for the contestants , her team, and their communities.  The original date in April was bumped to June, then moved again to September because of the pandemic. “I did not feel that there was enough information to safely hold the show prior.” 

Chamberland said she competed for Miss Maine for America title last year as Miss Androscoggin County and decided to compete again with the same title. 

The only people allowed inside the ballroom for the event were her team running the show and a single family-member for each contestant. The entire group was screened for temperatures and illness histories before entering the room. All participants wore masks up until the stepping on the stage for the show and even then maintained proper social distancing as mandated.

Chamberland was cheered on in person by her mother, Mary Dempsey of Auburn, while her eight-year-old son and other family members viewed the live-streamed event over the internet.

“We had a talented panel of esteemed judges there” for the virtual pageant, Pronovost said.

Chamberland holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Dance from The University of Maine, Orono, a master’s in education from The University of Maine, Orono, and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Leadership from St. Joseph’s College. She is the Dean of Students at Minot Consolidated School. 

She said that holding the Miss Maine for America title would give her the opportunity to talk about her passion, “which is to keep kids moving and active. Healthy habits lead to a happier lifestyle.”

“Our Miss division is still in its infancy, but I am ready to promote our sisterhood and make a lasting impact on Maine communities,” she said.

 Jenna Richardson took the title of Miss Maine for America in the inaugural pageant in 2019.

Women interested in competing in future events may find information about the organization and contact information at

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