In this episode, PT student and Miss North Dakota 2022, Sidni Kast, talks about her journey to becoming a PT and being Miss North Dakota.
Today, Sidni talks about the Miss America Organization, the One Body Movement, and going through Miss America orientation. How does Sidni balance her job as Miss North Dakota while completing her studies?
Hear about Sidni’s devotion to self-care, the value that Miss America can provide to young girls, and get Sidni’s advice to her younger self, all on today’s episode of The Healthy, Wealthy & Smart Podcast.
More about Sidni Kast
Sidni Kast is a second year graduate student at the University of North Dakota pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy.
While attaining this goal, she has decided to make an impact on her community as the current Miss North Dakota 2022. Her platform as Miss North Dakota, the One Body Movement, correlates perfectly with the profession of PT and grants Sidni the opportunity to speak to people all over her state, and on a national level when she competes at Miss America in December 2022 in Connecticut.
The focus of the One Body Movement is to preach the importance of overall health, and not just how people look on the outside; mind, body, and soul all play a major role in our quality of life. Sidni plans to speak to people of all ages on this matter, as she sees its importance for every demographic, especially after the isolation our communities underwent during the pandemic.
Although, it can be challenging to balance these two time-demanding endeavors, Sidni finds the enthusiasm she has for both outlets as her motivation to continue her pursuit of success.
Healthy, Wealthy, Smart, Physiotherapy, Miss America, Scholarship, Success, Opportunity, Impact, Advocacy, Inclusion,
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Read the Full Transcript Here:
Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the healthy, wealthy and smart podcast. I'm your guest host today Stephanie y rock, I am joined by Karen Litzy, who is the primary host of this podcast. And today we're interviewing Sydney cast. And Sidney is the current Miss North Dakota 2022. But she's also a doctor physical therapy candidate at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. And so she's joining us today. Hi, Sydney. Welcome to the show.
Hello, thank you so much for having me.
So tell us a little bit about yourself. And tell us kind of your connection between being a physical therapy student and being Miss North Dakota and what that all entails.
My name is Sidney Cass, and I'm currently a student at the University of North Dakota, I have loved going to school there. And the best part is that it's still kind of close to home. So I'm originally from Minot, North Dakota, which is about three hours from Grand Forks. And that is where I grew up and really found my passion for what I wanted to do with my life. And that was physical therapy, I applied after, you know, I'm really glad that I waited after COVID Before I started my education, because that's really helped me get a good experience and really gotten that hands on experience. So I'm very happy with that decision. But ya know, so went to U n, d. And then I started my kind of connection with the Miss America organization before I got to u and d. And that was back in 2019. So it's very new to me personally, I didn't grow up, you know, Toddlers and Tiaras or anything like that. But I really found a passion for it, because it allowed me to get scholarship money. And it allowed me to perform once again, because I did choir and theater all throughout growing up. And once I was done with high school, I really didn't have that opportunity anymore. So that's what led me to join the organization. And it has truly been life changing ever since not only becoming Miss North Dakota, but meeting all of the different people and having new experiences has truly shaped how I go about my everyday life. And I'm so thankful that I'm able to combine my doctorate of physical therapy, and also my job as Miss North Dakota into one.
So you know, people have heard of pageants before. And there's lots of different types of Miss North Dakota as a person can be. Tell us about the Miss America organization and how it's different from some of the other pageants or organizations that we're aware of like Miss Universe, tell us a little bit about the organization and why it's unique to you.
So the best thing about any type of these organizations is you make it your own. For instance, what I do is Miss North Dakota is completely different than the previous minutes North Dakota has done and that's okay. That's the best part is it can evolve as we evolve. And what I love about the Miss America organization is it truly honors scholarship. And that is the base of everything they do. Whether it's fundraising, or it's different events, scholarship is the base of what they prioritize. So that kind of is what allows me to that is why I chose that organization over other ones, I probably wouldn't have done another organization because I had that preconceived notion of what a pageant was. And it is so much more than the stereotypes. And it's, it's hard to explain that to a lot of people because they grew up oh, well, Miss America, it's just a beauty competition. And that is the furthest thing from what it really is going to and we'll talk about this later, I just went to my Miss America organized orientation. And that was so uplifting because I wasn't the only one trying to push an issue that I saw was important and was something I saw our nation needed. Every single candidate going for the job of Miss America has something unique, that allows her to show her passions and really provide an insight to what she believes needs to be changed in our country.
Yeah, I've always said, this is kind of a disclaimer to our listeners. I was also involved in Miss America organization, and competed in Miss North Dakota back in my younger days. And one of the unique things that I thought besides of course, the scholarship money which did help pay for my PT school was that you have to have a platform and you dedicate your entire year as Miss North Dakota or if you're a local title holder, to helping people understand that platform and raising awareness. So Sydney one of the things that I think is great about your platform is it is very much related to your future job as a physical therapist. Can you tell us about your platform give us a little bit more detail and what inspired that platform.
My platform is called the one body movement and what inspired that entire thing is, being in physical therapy, there are so many things about the body that connect to one another. And Mind Body Soul is really the root of what I'm after. And what I want to preach to not only the state of North Dakota, but hopefully the entire country that we have to take care of ourselves, and invest in our bodies in entirety, in order to thrive and have a greater quality of life, which, as physical therapists we know is the number one thing we're looking to improve. So having both that connection to my current my future career, and also being able to show that on a state platform is something I'm truly excited about. And I feel when I talk about it, you can sense I'm excited about it. And not all things, when people go into these different outlets, you can see that passion, I feel like I'm able to have that passion for it.
Yeah, and I think that that's something that we talk about a lot on this podcast is that mind body connection and understanding how everything is connected. I know that as a physical therapist, I do that every single day with my patients. And it's unique that you have this statewide platform where you can, as I like to say, preach the gospel of physical therapy, to especially young kids, you know, there's one thing that we want people to do is to grow up and be physically active and to move their bodies, and to practice habits so that they can have health, healthy lives as they get older. What are your plans as Miss North Dakota to kind of spread this message across the state.
So my way of, I think the best way to spread knowledge is through stories. And I can definitely relate to when I was growing up, I thought, Uh, well, in order to be successful, I have to look a certain way I have to come from a certain background. And I want to tell people throughout the state that that's not true. Whatever your dreams are, and whatever you want to achieve, as long as you set your mind to it, and know, this is why I want to do it, then you can achieve those goals. Whether it's your overall fitness, whether it's your mental health, or whether it's, you know, the job you want to attain, anything that you want in life is, is under your control. So being able to speak through my own stories, whether it's different diet cultures that we all experience, or social media, how it really affects different generations is how I would love to connect to others, and portray what I believe we need to move past.
And what types of things do you plan to utilize from your education to kind of help spread some of those messages?
Oh, absolutely. That's, that's the best part about all of this, every day, I'm learning something new, that I can relate to what I want to share. I kind of talked about this, the last time we spoke, but an example of when I talk to a class is I'll have four guests come up. And you know, I like to have a little classroom involvement, whether it's a school presentation, or whatnot. And all four of those guests will represent the parts of a car, four different tires. And those four different parts of the car, or the tires each represent a part of our lives. And it can be different for each person. Because as we all know, we come from different walks of life. For myself, personally, one tire would be my physical health, the next tire my mental health, and then my school and social my school and work life, and then my social life. Because as we know, those are all different parts of our lives that directly affect us what and what I would demonstrate to those people is those tires like on a car, if one goes flat, the car won't move forward. So we have to give energy and input input to each different outlet, if we want that car to move forward. But like, unlike a car, you can replace the tires, you can't replace your body. And that's why I really focus on the one body movement as a whole and really, like trying to inspire others that we have to invest in every little part and not just you know, inflate one tire.
I love that story. I think that that makes that that's something that people can really everybody has seen a car. Yeah, everybody's probably experienced a flat tire. So it's, Oh, I understand. And I think, you know, one of the things that is that I think you can definitely apply to when you become a physical therapist is our patients also respond to metaphors. And speaking in metaphors helps them understand like, why am I in pain, what is going on with my body and makes everything a lot less scary to them, especially if you can give them something that they can see that they understand the story that they understand. So I love that you're doing that. You had said that you just got back from Miss America orientation. then. Yeah. So tell us about that Miss America is happening in December. Correct. So tell us about the orientation process and what the contestants were that you met there.
Yeah, orientation for Miss America is both one of the most exciting, but also the most overwhelming things I've ever, like witnessed. And the reason I say that is, I'm a very like, extrovert, and you're going in and meeting 50 other women that are also extroverts and also accent Yeah. So it's a lot. And it's a lot of, you know, high energy. People that really just want to get to know you. And that I mean, the first few days, you're just really having that small talk really like, Oh, hey, like, where are you from? It's you walk up to somewhere like Sydney, North Dakota, nice to meet you. And it's so cool, because you can you can see that everyone's excited to be there and get to know one another. And that's what I really love about the Miss America organization. It's so uplifting and empowering and everyone wants the other to succeed. It's not that you know, Catty, 80s movie, we're Oh, no, we're, you know, we're in a pageant we have to compete. It's it's so much more than that.
Are you talking about drop dead gorgeous, because it's the greatest pageant movie of all time, in my opinion. Maybe Miss Congeniality? Yeah, no,
I was gonna say those two movies, they're at their high competitors. I love watching those movies, because it's so fun to compare it to real life situations. But other stuff that happened at the orientation was the teen competition. So there's a whole Miss America, like women, part of the competition, and then there's the team portion. So I actually got to watch my team. And it's so amazing to see women, the ages between 14 and 18 to 19. Show such poise and grace. And I'm sitting there thinking I was taking speech class, when they went in there on a national stage presenting in front of stars, I mean, me of Franklin, Michael Phelps, his wife, Monica, from cheer, I don't know if you've watched that on Netflix, but just, you know, to be at that age, and to handle that situation just shows the preparation that the Miss America organization gives young women. And then after the team competition was when we really got into orientation. And let me tell you read every contract before you sign it. Because there's no, it was the funniest part, we all showed up. And we had our contracts pre signed, and you know, you know how contracts work, you might skim a few. But there are some important things in there that are about the Miss America organization that you really have to pay attention to. And I don't believe I'm at liberty to discuss that. But there's a lot that there's so many logistics, some things I would never even imagine. But the best part was getting to talk to the current Miss America, and hear how she's handling her year. And you'd be amazed at the life that they live and what they have to endure in order to be this, you know, the face of Miss America. And it's my favorite part was listening to how she coped with the stress and how she really took time for herself in order to succeed at that role, because it is time consuming, and it is overbearing, some days. But you could tell she took the steps to handle her situations. And overall, the experience was wonderful. I'm so happy to have met the women now and not at Miss America in December because I just think that would have been way too much to handle.
Well, you know, you talked about Miss America not being able to handle a lot you are going to PT school and you have u of n you have the full time job of being Miss North Dakota, which, you know, if our listeners aren't, aren't familiar with what it's like to be in the Miss America organization, when you're a state title holder, you are that is literally your job, you are going and doing public speaking engagements nearly every single day during your year. So how are you balancing all of this? We have a lot of physical therapy students that listen to this podcast, we have a lot of people who are working their normal jobs and going home and maybe doing a side hustle or parenting who are probably wondering like, wow, how are you doing it? So tell us how you're handling everything.
Yeah, the two biggest things I would say our communication with both organizations, and also self care, those those things are my like golden rule and no matter what I'm doing because the communication part, whether it's talking with my manager who books me for all the events I go to, or talking to, for instance, Cyndi Flom, who is in charge of all my PT scheduling, being able to communicate with them and tell them when I need to be where I need to be, is utmost most important thing for me and something, I really have to, you know, hone in on because I am in a generation where emails are not prioritized. And I know that I know that's a flaw of mine is answering emails, but it's something I'm working on and able to admit. And the next thing that really has helped me get through not only my first year of PT school, but this summer since becoming Miss North Dakota, alongside of PT school, is taking time for myself when I need it. And I know so many people forget to do that. And when we're constantly baring our souls into one thing, and not taking time to whether it's read a book, or watch a movie, take a walk with your friends, or, you know, just take time for yourself is my number one thing and not only taking time for yourself, but not feeling anxious, while you're taking your time. Well, I could be doing this, I could be doing that. But really taking it in and fully relaxing. And then moving on to whatever to do list you may have.
I totally agree with you. And I remember when I was a student, and I would go out and do something fun, I would think oh my god, I should be studying for that test. I should be doing this. So like, how do you do that? I mean, how do you let go of that anxiety? When in devote that full time to that self care or to the present? What advice do you have for people for that?
Number one, set your phone down? I think our phones control our lives. And that's, you know, that's an ongoing battle we all face because well, what if I want to call someone like maybe that's my free time, do that. But saying you're out with friends, just put your phone aside and relax in that moment. Because when those like dings come up your notifications, that's when you're like, Okay, I should get back to this. But being present in those moments and fully diving into them is my number one advice. I love my, my time to myself is when I go workout. And I just you know, turn the tunes up, listen to a podcast, whatever it may be. And that's I just remind myself, this is my me time. And you know, whatever comes in, I tried to set it aside, but really just relaxing in those moments and reminding yourself it's okay to take this break, because that is what is going to lead to your success and survival. And whatever it is that you're anxious about.
I appreciate that a lot. I feel like I've learned to live in the moment a lot more since I've become a parent. I was definitely not I was definitely not an in the moment kind of person. I had some areas, somebody who was in the moment to help teach me that. And then I had to become a parent to really actually do that. So you're way ahead of me know, oh, I Lycos. I couldn't even
keep a dog alive at this point. So you know, what you do is amazing. And you should recognize that whenever you can possibly.
What are you most excited about for Miss America? And maybe tell us a little bit about I mean, I know you haven't gone to Miss America yet. But you did go to orientation. What's that? What's what's a typical Miss America competition? Like, from what you know? What are you most excited about?
Well, if you asked me before last week, I'd say I'm most excited about meeting all of the candidates because that is where you truly that is the best takeaway from any Miss America experience I think you have is friendships. And I have gotten to meet those girls and have formed those connections. Now I'm most excited probably for the competition part, but specifically the talent portion. And the reason that's sort of on my mind right now is we actually get to turn in our talent request form this in the next few days. And how that works is you just submit whatever song talent, dance you plan to do. And they tell you, Okay, you can do it. Or they say, Oh, another person has that. Well, let's rock paper scissors to see who gets it sort of thing. So I'm so excited to do that. Because my talent is really where I get to express myself in a way other than words can allow. And what I do is I play piano and sing. And I did that at the state level. And I ended up getting the top talent and top vocal award which I'm so, so proud of because growing up I thought I was good at singing. But it's not until you have that stage moment that gives you the confidence and the validation that what you're doing is really what you were meant to do. So being able to do that. And then also, that will be the moment I get to talk about this platform on a national stage. And if given the opportunity to make Top 15 Because that's how it works. You have two nights in prelims. And then one night of finals, and in finals is where they cut you down to 15. And if I were to be able to that top 15 and really get to speak about my passions and speak for the physical therapy community, that would be a life changing no matter what place I ended up in, just being able to share my stories and my passions would be something I just, I can barely find words to form, but I would be so excited for that opportunity.
Oh, we would love to hear you talk about physical therapy on a national stage. Yeah, I think that I think that you'll have you'll definitely have at least 100,000 APTA members rootin, for you for one thing, and then those people who maybe are physical therapists from around the world or maybe not APTA members, hopefully they'll hear this podcast too. And rude for you as well. So you'll have the whole PT community rooting for you while you're on that stage. How do you think this experience is going to help you in your journey becoming to becoming a physical therapist,
I mean, just this right now, this networking, this opportunity to share my story and share my passions is what I've already noticed, has made a change in my future as a physical therapist, because this gives me opportunities to connect with people from all over the world. And not every second year DPT student gets to say that. So having that, you know that networking opportunity is what I'm most grateful for. But also, it's giving me that connection to people that you'll have as a physical therapist, that one on one being able to relate and tell people stories, but also to listen, I think that's one of the main things we do as PTS is listen to people, and what it is that's causing them pain, whether it be their physical or mental, and having the opportunity to really kind of get a dip my toes in the water as Miss North Dakota, will be will help me exponentially as a physical therapist. Well,
Cindy, this is Karen, I'm just for people listening. I'm just gonna hop in with one last question and comment. first comment is I am so blown away and impressed by your poise and your speaking ability. And, you know if this is something that you can take forward with your patients and to be a representative of physical therapy in the future, regardless of what happens in in the competition in December, I think you are well ahead of the game. So kudos to you on that. I'm very, very impressed. It's been a pleasure sitting in and listening to you and Stephanie chat. And my I had one sort of follow up question before we ended the the interview. And that is what do you feel? The Miss America? Or sorry? Yeah, Miss America. Okay, I thought I got that wrong for a second. No, no, no. I'm like, what do you what do you feel the Miss America Pageant can bring two young girls. So not someone who's you know, a second year DPT student, not the not even the teens. But you know, we're really looking for the for the young girls who are watching these pageants and looking up to you all. And just think maybe they're thinking, Oh, look at how pretty, but it goes a lot deeper than that. So what do you want those young girls to know?
So I love that you asked that. Because just recently at the Miss America, teen competition, they have this thing called Empower Academy. And it's for young women, young girls that have been watching the Miss America competition for years. It is for them to have the same experiences. So this weekend, I watch girls from the ages of five to 10 speak on a stage in front of judges in front of the entire Miss America class, speak as if they had been doing this for years. And I can't even imagine having that experience at such a young age. Because it really breaks down these barriers that young people can accomplish things. And just watching them I was amazed. And maybe it was the same kind of for you to me, but me to them, in this case that no matter what age we can accomplish whatever we want to and I got to see that firsthand this last weekend. So the Miss America organization is already accomplishing that kind of task of making young young women believe that they can do what The role models they're looking up to have been doing. Yeah, that's very
sweet. Go ahead stuff.
I appreciate that. Because I think that the first time I ever spoke in front of anybody was when I was like, I don't know, maybe 10 years old, maybe a little younger than that. And it was like through some type of pageant type experience. And I've been public speaking now for oh, my gosh, over 20 years. And I feel like what you just said about gaining confidence speaking in front of a national audience having to answer questions that have substance in them is and being able to express your own opinions to a lot of people that may disagree with you. I mean, that all that all starts at at at a stage like that. And so, you know, I do think that there is something to say about having a platform where young people, not just women, but young people in general can go on a stage in front of an audience and start speaking, because what's the number one fear of people? It's public speaking? Oh, yes, there are so many times that I go to a conference and somebody comes up to me, and they're like, Oh, my God, I'm gonna go speak and I'm so like, nervous, and I don't know what to say. And, you know, I get nervous when I go on stage, but it's more excitement, nervous. It's not like, Oh, my God, I'm afraid I'm gonna mess up, or I'm afraid of what these people are gonna think of me I have, I have that confidence. And I think a lot of that, in addition to some other things that I've done in my life, but a lot of that started on a stage in a situation similar to those young people. So I appreciate you saying that. Yeah. Yeah. It's,
it's been truly wonderful. And I've, I've loved being a part of it.
That's amazing. So I have one last question. Before we wrap things up, and it's a question I asked everyone, and knowing where you are now, in your life, and in your career, your Yeah, career? What advice would you give to your younger self?
There's a lot of things, I would give advice to my younger self. And it's crazy to say that at 24, because I still consider myself quite young. But I would say, to stop trying to speed through every road, every part of your journey, whether it's okay, I'm excited to graduate high school, and then I can go to college. Oh, I'm in college, I can't wait to get into graduate school. Oh, I'm in graduate school, I can't wait to get married, get a house, instead of rushing through those moments to really take time and understand why you're there. Because once you're done with that part of your life, it's gotten, you know, like, and I Yeah, I'd say it started when I was a swimmer in high school. I was like, Oh, I can't wait to be done with swimming. This has been my entire life. But now I look back. I'm like, I miss those days. I, I look at my undergrad, I constantly was stressing about getting into PT school, which a lot of us go through that. It's competitive. That's normal, but not always stressing about what's next. And being in the moment. That would be my number one piece of advice to my younger self and something I'm really taking into this year. Because the job Miss North Dakota is 365 days. I have to enjoy each and every day and not worry well, next month I have a conference or tomorrow I need to get this video done. It's taken in each moment. Like right now I'm sitting in this podcast, talking with you and experience in it to my full ability. And that is what I'm very happy. I've been able to notice that and learn from it.
That's very wise. Very wise advice. Well, thank you so much, Sydney for joining us. We had an awesome talk. Where can people find you if they want to look you up on social media or want to contact you?
So my personal Instagram is my name SSID and I KST and then my Miss North Dakota Instagram is Miss America en de in on Facebook. You can find me at Sydney cast Miss North Dakota, email Sydney firstname.lastname@example.org All all spelt the same and super easy. And yes, my name is spelt Correct. I don't know what was going through my mom's mind. But we love her for it makes me different.
That's funny. That's great. Well, Sidney thank you so much, Stephanie. Thank you so much. We'll have links to all of your contact info and any other info you want to share at the podcast in the show notes for this episode at podcast at healthy wealthy smart.com. Stephanie, any closing remarks?
No, just good luck at Miss America, Sydney and we are all rooting for you.
We are we are and everyone Thanks so much for tuning in, be sure to watch the pageant or I should say scholarship program like the end of Miss Congeniality scholarship competition scholarship in December and let's all root for Sydney. So everyone, thanks so much. Have a great couple of days and stay healthy, wealthy and smart.