Drew Sanclemente is here to prove that women can do both! On top of serving her state as the reigning Miss Delaware USA, Drew is a medical student who hopes to heal her future pediatric patients. Find out why Drew started competing in pageantry, her journey to the Miss USA stage, and her experience as a woman in STEM during her chat with Lucas Sigarini!
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Drew: Hi, everyone! My name is Drew Sanclemente and I’m Miss Delaware USA 2021. I am so excited to be here on the Queenly TeaTalks!
Lucas: It's lovely to speak with you Drew. Let's get started! When and why did you decide to start doing pageants?
D: I decided to try pageantry when I was 14 years old. I actually got a mailer in the mail that said ‘Would you like to be the next Miss Delaware Teen USA?’ At the time, I was a super big tomboy, I was an athlete, I did triathlons. I spent 99% of my time in athletic clothing and I honestly didn’t even own a dress at this point in my life. So, I got this letter and I was like ‘hmm…Miss Delaware Teen USA…’ This seems like a new challenge and I wanted to challenge myself and push myself to do something different than I had been used to doing. So, I walked downstairs and I said to my parents ‘Hey, mom and dad, I’m going to do Miss Delaware Teen USA’ and I swear their jaws dropped to the floor!
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My mom asked ‘you’re going to do what now?’ and I said ‘yeah, I really want to push myself to try new things and learn new skills. I went and I competed for Miss Delaware Teen USA in 2011, so a little over ten years ago, which is crazy! I was absolutely blown away by the women I was competing with. They were so confident, strong, leaders in the community, and things I never pushed myself to do, they were doing. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to have these powers to make a difference in my community and impact those around me. So, I continued to compete in pageantry. I came back year after year. I did not win the title of Miss Delaware Teen USA, but on my fourth try I did win the crown of Miss Delaware USA and it’s just been a dream come true especially for little 14-year-old me!
L: That’s so amazing! You were competing for this title for so long, what was it like winning?
D: I- oh my gosh- every time I watch the video I feel like I’m back in that moment all over again. It was such a surreal feeling. I had been 2nd runner-up a few times, I had been 1st runner up in teen and then 2nd runner up, 2nd runner up and when my name wasn’t called for 2nd runner up I was like ‘oh my goodness, could this be it, could this be my year?’ I remember standing there with my 1st runner up and I love her, she’s amazing. I remember standing with her and just hearing them say the name of the 1st runner up and I heard her name and I was like ‘wait, oh my gosh!’ You can even see in the video I’m saying ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh, it’s me, it’s me!’ I was just blown away by how excited I was, how honored I was to represent Delaware. I’ve lived in Delaware my whole life so it’s truly a dream come true to represent the state.
D: Absolutely amazing! Queenly is so easy! You just upload photos and people can like or make offers. One of my dresses somebody just made an offer on and I accepted the offer and packed it right up. The other one they just bought outright and I loved that it was just so easy. Queenly sent me the packing label, I printed it out, put it on the box, and sent it on its way. It’s such a hassle-free process that is just so, so easy. I absolutely love it. I have a couple more so if anyone wants to see my wardrobe you can find it!
L: Tell us about your career, and your experience being both a pageant queen and studying in medical school.
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D: I always wanted to be something in STEM. I loved math and science growing up and those were really the areas of school I did the best in. As an athlete, unfortunately, I was always hurt so I spent a lot of time in and out of doctor’s offices. At one point in my life, I had gotten this really severe injury and I was told by a physician that I would never walk again. He said ‘just move on with your life, it’s fine, just get over it, you’re not going to walk.’ I was fourteen at the time and I was like ‘wait a minute. I’m fourteen, I have my whole life ahead of me. That’s not an acceptable answer for me.’
So, I actually went and found a new physician who was really on board with helping to get me better and put me on the road to success, and not only was I walking, but I ended up running in college. My new physician did a phenomenal job and I wanted to be the physician that I didn’t have before. I wanted to take care of patients and inspire them and motivate them. That experience is really what motivated me to pursue medicine and specifically pediatric medicine. I hope to become a pediatrician because I want to be that doctor that shows our patients that we’ll get you better, we’ll work together as a team, and help you on your pathway to recovery.
L: Does this part of your career and your life experience tie into your pageant platform?
D: Yes! This definitely plays into my platform. Being a woman in pageantry, it’s something that isn’t really seen in medicine and it’s not something that’s really talked about. Unfortunately, in the medical field, we’ve had a lot of problems where women are seen differently when they express femininity or they wear a bathing suit. There was actually a whole controversy that happened about two summers ago where women who posted pictures in bathing suits were called unprofessional. The men who posted pictures in bathing suits, male physicians, were not deemed as unprofessional by our field.
Thank you, Drew! Check out the full interview here and make sure to follow Queenly on Instagram for more exclusive interviews.