Although Keegan Connor is competing in Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen competition for the first time, she is no stranger to similar competition.
The Westfield resident has appeared in the National All-American Miss three times.
“NAM has prepared me for Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen through speaking skills, on-stage presence, interviews, and even how to walk,” Connor said.
The Miss Indiana and Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen competitions, part of the Miss America circuit, is set for June 16-19 at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center.
Connor, 14, wasn’t successful in her first attempt to qualify for Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen in February 2020. The 2020 competition was canceled.
“I had such amazing conversations and moments with the girls backstage that they inspired me to compete again,” said Connor, who recently completed her freshman year at Westfield High School. “This year, I won as Miss West Central Outstanding Teen, qualifying me for state. I’m so excited to experience the state competition activities throughout the week like a parade, luncheons and rehearsals to bond with the other ladies and make a connection with them.”
In addition, it’s been more than a year since Connor has performed in a musical.
“So, I can’t wait to sing in talent (category) because I love performing on stage,” she said.
Connor will sing “Don’t Rain On My Parade” from “Funny Girl.”
“I wanted to do this song because it’s about making your own way, a ‘can-do’ message that’ll be empowering to sing,” Connor said. “I also admire Barbra Streisand and love that she has a bridge on her nose like I do. By being proud of her nose, she makes me feel less insecure. And, it’s nice to know we share a love of musical theater.”
Connor’s platform is her nonprofit, Keegan Cares, whose mission is to advocate for scoliosis awareness so that people can spot the signs. Scoliosis affects 3 percent of the U.S. population, mostly young girls between the ages of 10 and 15.
“When I was 13 years old, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis with a 48-degree curve,” she said. “Curves above 40 degrees usually require surgery. Scoliosis seemed to instantly change my world and dream to be on Broadway, so now it’s my mission to help others spot the signs to detect it early. Were it not for the office manager (Julie Downs) at my orthodontist (Dr. Michelle Wittler), my scoliosis may not have been caught in time for me to have the newer type of surgery called VBT (vertebral body tethering) that has to be done while a kid is still growing.
“To help identify scoliosis, I made a flyer pointing out the signs to make them recognizable by using a picture of my back for illustration. On my website, KeeganCares.com, people can download the flyer to share with others.”