Siam Simpfenderfer was #borntomakeadifference.
And true to the pageant tagline, the newly crowned Miss North Dakota International is ready to make her mark.
Siam, daughter of Lane Simpfenderfer, instrument tech at Basin Electric’s Antelope Valley Station, was crowned Miss North Dakota International Jan. 15 in Fargo, ND.
The title will give her the opportunity to make a big difference in peoples’ lives regarding her two areas of advocacy – the American Heart Association and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
In accordance with February as American Heart Month, Siam believes in promoting hearth health and the American Heart Association’s national movement, Go Red for Women®, to end heart disease and stroke in women.
Her second area of advocacy, suicide, stems from personal tragedy.
“I lost my mom when I was 5,” Siam says. “There’s a stigma surrounding suicide, but I learned that I can help others by sharing my message. It’s OK to not be OK – and it’s OK to ask for help.”
Siam was born in Thailand and moved to Stanton, ND, when she was young. She graduated from Center-Stanton High School, and has three more years working toward a nursing degree at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.
She worked as an office clerk at Basin Electric’s Leland Olds Station after high school, and interned in records management in summer 2016 at Basin Electric Headquarters in Bismarck, ND.
As Miss North Dakota International, she’s grateful for the opportunity to elevate her platforms in order to reach a larger audience. She has visited with state legislators, handed out Valentine’s Day treats at a children’s hospital, will be part of Brave the Shave’s flagship event March 10 in Bismarck, and has plans to take part in a Make-A-Wish event in Dickinson, ND. Her ideal audience is junior high and high school students who are at an impressionable age.
“Once I realized I can help people with my life story, that’s when it clicked,” Siam says. “Through the negatives of life you can sit there and dwell on it and be collateral damage, or you can be collateral beauty. And that’s what I want to do.”
Winning the crown
Siam had done one other pageant while in high school, but was hesitant when approached by pageant directors in June 2016 regarding the Miss ND International pageant.
“I said, ‘No, but thank you,’ ” Siam says. “Then I thought about it again in November, and got asked several times about pageants and thought that was a weird sign. I slept on it, then called the director. It just kind of pulled on my heart more than anything.”
She described those moments onstage in January at the pageant as the runners up and winner was announced.
“I don’t ever get sweaty palms, but it was like a shower coming out of my hands,” she says. “When I won, I was smiling and pushed around from picture to picture. It was a huge whirlwind for about three hours. There were so many people coming up to me and congratulating me. That made my heart so full of joy, having so many people in your corner.”
Siam will now compete for the title of Miss International 2017 in August in Charleston, WV.