OC Woman Named Miss Maryland USA

OC Woman Named Miss Maryland USA
Caleigh Shade, a 22-year-old Ocean City resident, was crowned Miss Maryland USA on Sunday. Photo by Anthony Gomes

OCEAN CITY – An Ocean City woman will represent Maryland at the Miss USA pageant this year.

Caleigh Shade, a 22-year-old Ocean City resident, was crowned Miss Maryland USA on Sunday during the 70th edition of the Miss Maryland USA competition. The win came as a surprise to Shade, who was competing in the contest for the first time.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Shade, a Cumberland native, attended Salisbury University and has now lived in Ocean City for the past four years. She moved to Ocean City permanently to work at The Hobbit, where she is a sommelier.

She said her pageant career was inspired by someone she met when she was modeling. After a debut in a teen pageant, Shade said she knew she wanted to compete for the Miss Maryland title.

Leading up to Sunday’s competition, she worked with a coach and prepared with mock interviews. When she made it to the top five during Sunday night’s event, she was ecstatic.

“There were 82 girls competing,” she said. “I was just happy to be top five. It’s an amazing group of girls.”

When asked about her glittering, ocean-inspired blue gown, Shade was thrilled to have an opportunity to talk about Ocean City.

“The gown was ocean inspired and I got to talk about Ocean City being a tight-knit community,” she said.

As for her on-stage question from judges, Shade was asked to define pageantry reimagined. She said she talked about how pageants can inspire confidence and touched on her work as a sommelier, which she noted was a male-dominated field. She believes that at 22, she’s probably one of the youngest female sommeliers on the East Coast.

“I think pageantry is something that give you a place to advocate for yourself,” she said. “The experience I’ll get is something I’ll never forget.”

While she doesn’t yet know the date of the Miss USA competition, she plans to spend three months preparing. And while she naturally wants to win, that’s not all that’s on her mind.

“The goal is to win,” she said. “And I’d like to win Miss USA. But I’d love to be a master sommelier someday.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.