Lawrence resident set for Miss America experience


For Cydney Bridges, the impetus for her Miss Indiana mentoring initiative came from her roots.

“I grew up the youngest of four children from a single mom with an uninvolved father, so I’ve always had a heart for kids,” said Bridges, who grew up in Fort Wayne. “I had so many mentors invested in me when I was younger, so I’ve always known I wanted to work with kids. It wasn’t until my seventh-grade careers class when I saw a presentation on nursing that I learned I wanted to be a nurse.”

CIG COM 0102 Miss Indiana pic 1
Bridges (Photo by Matt Doudt)

The Lawrence resident, a registered nurse at Riley Hospital for Children, will participate in the Miss America competition Jan. 6-14 in Orlando. Bridges won the Miss Indiana title in June in Zionsville. She graduated from Huntington University in the spring with her Bachelor of Science in nursing and started at Riley in July.

Through her power of mentoring service initiative, she created a program “Ignite Your Sparkle” during her year as Miss Fort Wayne.

“I travel to youth programs and I talk with the schools,” she said. “I speak to goal setting. We do vision boards. The girls write letters to themselves. They work on positive affirmation. I’ve been a mentor for the past four years. It’s been cool to meet so many students and young kids during my year as Miss Indiana.”

Bridges, who will sing for the talent portion of the competition, participated in the Voices of Unity choir from age 8 to 18. She said the choir is where she met many of her influential mentors.

“It’s where I learned to sing. Before I joined, I couldn’t hold a note,” she said.

This was the third time Bridges participated in the Miss Indiana competition. She competed in the 2021 pageant as Miss Fort Wayne and placed in the top 10.

In 2022, Bridges participated as Miss Banks of the Wabash, finishing third runner-up. Then she returned courtesy of the Miss Fort Wayne title in 2023.

“I have this cool experience where I always get better,” Bridges said of the competition. “Whenever I go to pageants, I never think I’m going to win. I’m super humble and whatever is meant to be will be, and if I’m the girl for the job, they’ll choose me. I always compete very relaxed and peaceful and happy. When I won this past summer, I was in tears.”

Bridges said she is eager to share her message, which is about authenticity, diversity and compassion.

Bridges said one of her favorite parts of the Miss America competition is the women she meets.

“They are lawyers, teachers, doctors, artists, performers, and we all come together in this one space to accomplish similar goals,” Bridges said. “It’s such an empowering environment that I don’t get anywhere else. I have never been in an environment where women are actually rooting for each other and lifting each other up and inspiring each other. I’m just excited to meet all the girls from the other states. I’m excited to make bonds with them and make memories with them. At the end of the day, only one person leaves with a title and the rest of us leave with new experiences and new friends and that lasts longer after the year of service we have.”