Miss Utah Tech Zoe Sewell wins Miss Southern Utah

Miss Utah Tech Zoe Sewell, centered in the middle of the contestants, was named Miss Southern Utah Sept. 30. She will hand off her title of Miss Utah Tech to a new titleholder Oct. 24. | Photo courtesy of Kylie Hunt

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The Miss Southern Utah title has been handed off to Zoe Sewell, who with her former title of Miss Utah Tech, plans to educate young students on ways to start healthy lifestyle habits.

Carli Gumm, a senior mathematics education major from Minden, Nevada, has handed her Miss Southern Utah crown and title over to Zoe Sewell, a sophomore criminal justice major from Hurricane. 

Sewell said she loved the Miss Utah Tech competition and that it was a great experience for her. That was also her first title, and she knew that she would be able to serve to her full capacity because of how much she loves the university as well as the community.

Even though the Miss Southern Utah competition was not a requirement for titleholders to participate in, Sewell said she really wanted to be able to have the chance to serve her community with this title. 

“In my head, I told myself, ‘No matter what happens, I believe that it’s God’s will,'” Sewell said. “I also believe that it just means that there’s another step that I need to take.”

Gumm said her experience as the former Miss Southern Utah was “incredible.” With over 400 volunteer hours toward service initiatives and helping underprivileged students in the community, she is connected to the Miss America organization. She plans to stick around, not as a former participant but as a forever participant.

Many people believed in Sewell and thought she would do great with this title.

“Zoe had a local title before, so I think she has a great understanding of what it means to be a titleholder,” Gumm said. “The exciting thing for her is that with this new title, she will get to be more involved outside of the university and branch out her community service to all of southern Utah.”

Sophie Sparks, a communication studies major from St. George and the student chair for the Miss Utah Tech University competition, said: “Zoe was able to share her story at the Breaking The Stigma Seminar series. She really wanted people to see that even with everything she experienced in her life, she achieved what she wanted to do.”

Sewell wants to visit all of the high schools in Washington County and speak in their classrooms. She hopes to talk to students about her community service initiative, Healthy Habits, and spread the goals of her initiative to the local community as much as she can.

“As long as I’m reaching at least one person, I think that it is just as impactful [as reaching a large number of people],” Sewell said. 

She wants those she speaks to to know that these habits of a better lifestyle don’t have to be large and big steps. The small steps that build on top of each other over time are just as impactful and important. Things like making your bed in the morning or packing your lunch for the next day are some simple examples that Sewell wants people to start with to make their lifestyles healthier.

Sewell’s sister, Marie Sewell, was her biggest inspiration to start participating. They have been best friends since they were little, so when Zoe Sewell watched her sister compete for the first time, she wanted to be involved.

“I think competing in the competition with my sister really showed me how much it was about sisterhood because even though we are sisters, and sisters can bicker sometimes, I felt like our relationship got a lot stronger,” Zoe Sewell said. 

She also spoke about her excitement to watch and support her sister in the upcoming Miss Utah Tech University competition. Marie Sewell has competed in the Miss Utah Tech competition before, and Zoe Sewell knows this has been a dream of her sister’s for a while now, so she can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Sparks said: “I am excited to see all of the women that are competing to become and feel like their most confident selves. The girls are already starting to create friendships and bonds with each other.”

Sewell will be handing her old title over to a new owner at the Miss Utah Tech scholarship competition Oct. 24 in the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m.