Annika is no stranger to the responsibility of being a titleholder, having served the state as Miss Kansas in the Miss America Organization for an unprecedented 2-year reign throughout the pandemic. Understanding the role of a public figure, motivational speaker, brand representative, and role model to young women across the state and country have become an essential part of Annika's day-to-day life. In her full-time role, she serves as the Director of Operations of Lead for Kansas, an affiliate of Lead for America and a program that is developing the future leaders of our communities, states, and country, starting with a year of AmeriCorps service at home. With young people leaving the state at exponential rates, Annika has found purpose in pouring into the next generation of leaders through mentorship, programming, and collaboration throughout the launch of the Kansas affiliate program. With a background in the arts, Annika is an avid speed-painter, model, and graphic designer - collaborating with businesses and creatives across the country.
"Nothing excites me more than the opportunity to inspire and make an impact in this world."
- ANNIKA WOOTON -
On June 8th, 2019, Annika Wooton, of Overland Park, Kansas, graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration, was crowned Miss Kansas 2019. As a result of COVID-19, the Miss America Organization chose to postpone the national competition in which Annika served for an unprecedented 2-year term.
Annika represented Kansas at the 2020 Miss America Competition which was broadcast live on NBC from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Thursday, December 19, 2019.
Annika earned a Top 15 placement at the competition in addition to a non-finalist talent award for her 90-second speed painting performance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was also recognized as the winner of the Jean Bartel Social Impact Initiative Scholarship which acknowledges her exceptional work in arts advocacy and with the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. At the culmination of the competition, Annika earned an additional $13,000 in cash scholarship at Miss America 2020.
In addition to her work in the community, Annika is both artistically and musically talented. She has traveled the country exhibiting her live painting with numerous organizations and events. Her travels have taken her across the state of Kansas, to Missouri, Florida, Virginia, and New Mexico. Her work has been featured locally in the University Daily Kansan and the Lawrence Journal World publications, as well as nationally featured in New York Magazine and Mic.com.
Annika is excited to take the stage once again, representing her home of Sedgwick County at the Miss Kansas USA pageant in May of 2022.
"Kansas has my heart. I was born here, and once I made my way back and sat still long enough to take stock of what I was surrounded by...
I saw beauty in every area of our state, a community that has supported me at every turn, and opportunity for a bright, bright future."