Susie Leica is the current titleholder of Miss Michigan USA. A Livonia native, Susie was raised by Polish-Romanian immigrants and grew up learning three languages. She received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Michigan State University and is an OR spine specialist. Read more about Susie, her fitness loves and life as Miss Michigan.
What makes you feel empowered?
Challenging myself mentally and physically. Also, challenging myself to do things that may scare me.
You play volleyball. What do you love about that sport?
Yes, I do! I love it. I think it’s probably one of the most fun sports to play, especially beach volleyball. Definitely count me in if you have a league happening around town.
What other ways do you stay active?
I do reformer pilates about five days a week and really enjoy it mentally and physically. It gives me time to really relax.
Why is fitness and wellness important to you?
It really became a way of life for me in recent years, as I was always told that you build your life habits in your early 20s. Staying active and being healthy has become really something I enjoy.
How did you get involved in pageants?
I was at a runway show in New York and I remember one of the other models was talking about their state pageant and mentioned they thought I should look into Michigan. It was always something I had dreamt of, but the timing wasn’t right until that point. It was a great experience and really gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone. Obviously, today I am really happy I took that road.
What did you enjoy about them? What kept you going?
Well, I think the competitive aspect is very fun and exhilarating. Digging deeper, pageants are a really good way to push yourself mentally. Not only do you have to be solid intellectually, you also have to insure you’re the best “you” and know how to bring that to the table when needed. Knowing how to transition your strengths on stage to the judges is key.
What is a misconception people have about pageants? How do you clear that up?
Definitely that “pageant patty” types or even that pageant girls are only focused on beauty, which couldn’t be further from the truth. We all have a strong focus on philanthropy work, giving back and pushing ourselves to the next level. It’s important to be well rounded, hard-working and ambitious. Pageants attract all those attributes.
Your first Miss Michigan competition was in 2011. What were your goals then?
I think I just really wanted to get a taste of what the industry was like. It was great to get my feet wet. I was in college, so really focusing on finding what my passions were and how to transition that to competition.
How did your goals change up to winning Miss Michigan?
They changed completely. The last time I had competed prior to winning was four years ago. I think during my “winning year” I was really relaxed, happy and calm. That is key in competition.
How has your life changed since winning your title?
It’s been a whirlwind. One that I can’t even begin to explain. It’s definitely a dream come true and a great feeling of accomplishment. There’s something special knowing that you achieved something you’ve thought about since you were a little girl. I remember standing at Miss USA just looking around thinking to myself, “I did it.”
How do you use your opportunity to empower other women and young girls?
That was probably one of my favorite parts of winning. The number of doors that opened the second you receive the title are endless. You instantly become a role model. I really enjoyed connecting and meeting a lot of young girls that were a lot like myself at one point in my life. I think since I was little, something that motivated me was beating down barriers and being challenged. So making sure other women know their possibilities are endless and that the only person holding you back from achieving the things you want in life is yourself. So do it!
What is your next big challenge?
It’s funny, because anyone that is close to me knows I am always cooking up something else that interests me or challenges me. Next step for me is to really take my modeling and professional career by storm. I am really intrigued by entrepreneurship and reinventing myself in the business world. It’s unbelievable how many doors Miss Michigan USA has opened and it has given me a taste of having a dynamic career. I love having the businesswoman side, but also being able to model. Being a part of both industries is honestly a dream a come true.