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Madilyn Hipps is crowned the new Miss City of Maricopa on Sept. 28 by Miss Arizona Jacqueline Thomas.

MARICOPA — In a field as talented as the Miss City of Maricopa competition, it takes a lot to stand out. It sure helps to bring a personal touch to everything you do.

Madilyn Hipps had plenty of that to go around. She remembers making a great connection with the judges during the interview phase of the competition, when she shared her journey since being diagnosed with lupus in January.

“I have my good days and my bad days, but overall, I’m doing good,” the 21-year-old Hipps told PinalCentral. “There are people in the world who are doing a lot worse than I am. I decided this is my struggle that God has given me to deal with.”

She talked about her ambition to spread awareness of lupus everywhere she goes, and how that would be her social impact initiative should she be named Miss City of Maricopa and compete for Miss Arizona in June.

Having gone through that, it’s no wonder a little extra challenge didn’t stop her the week of the competition. Hipps sings for her talent, yet she had no voice all week. It had gotten so bad that she didn’t even know if she could talk during the interview. But she said a little prayer and used what she admits was probably more throat medication than anyone should take to be ready for her moment.

“I’m a very determined person, so I wasn’t going to let that stop me,” she said. “I worked really hard even though I was sick and planned on singing my talent.”

In the end, the prayer and medication seemed to work, and she got up on stage and sang “She Used to be Mine,” a Sara Bareilles song from the musical “Waitress.”

Being thrilled to just have been able to perform, Hipps wasn’t thinking about winning when all the contestants lined up on stage. Yet when the winner was announced, it was her name that was called.

“I was really shocked,” she said. “They had called all the other titles and I was so happy for my sisters, and didn’t think I would get Miss City of Maricopa. When I did, my mouth just dropped to the floor.”

Hipps is currently taking classes at Scottsdale and Mesa community colleges and intends to go to Brigham Young University to complete her post-secondary education. She previously went on a church mission to Ventura, California.

She got into pageants after becoming friends with Ashlyn Thompson, who encouraged her to pursue it. The road wasn’t easy, though, as Hipps previously participated in five competitions without winning, including filling in for a spot at Miss Arizona last year.

Now she is working with the Lupus Foundation of America’s Arizona chapter to get people in every city in the state to “paint Arizona purple” on May 18 by having everyone wear purple.

Hipps wants the people of Maricopa to know that they will be seeing a lot of her over the next year, as she will be attending many events just as her predecessors have. And above all, she wants to be a role model to the young people in Maricopa.

“Something I’ve been trying to get across as I get to know girls in our community is that we have a world that’s full of what we call perfect people who try to push that across social media, but we’re not perfect people,” Hipps said. “I want them to know that they’re enough, that what they’re doing is enough.”