Miss Tooele County Annie Butterfield isn’t afraid to dream big, and the duties tied to wearing the crown gave the Erda native the confidence to move from the West Desert to chase her dreams in the Capitol of the World.
In New York City, Butterfield works in the public relations industry for ID A visit to the firm’s website reveals familiar names and faces such as Serena Williams, John Malkovich, Tobey Maguire, Ben Stiller and Sir Patrick Stewart, just to name a few. Butterfield may be living and working in New York with big-name clients, but around Erda, she had her own claim to celebrity representing the county at community and civic events for several years.
In the summer of 2013, almost two months after graduating from Stansbury High School, Butterfield was competing on stage for Miss Tooele County. She earned her spot on the court with the second attendant spot and the very next year, Butterfield returned to the pageant and was crowned Miss Tooele County in 2014.
Taking the title in 2014 was a great achievement for Butterfield, but there was also special meaning in the 2014 pageant for the Tooele County royalty of 2013.
With Tooele County in the midst of financial turmoil, the future of the pageant was in limbo. Not only were they passing the crown on, but they also had to give extra — from the hours of volunteer work to planning the pageant, as well as raising funds to stage the pageant to continue the Miss Tooele County tradition.
For Butterfield, the extra involvement gave great meaning to the pageant and its legacy.
“With the two royalties that I have had the honor of being a part of, I never ceased to be amazed, more at what we could accomplish if we truly came together to do it,” Butterfield recalled. “With the guidance and ever-steady love and encouragement from Abigail McNeill (Miss Tooele County 2013), we were able to plan and host a pageant my second year that far surpassed expectations. We never gave up and we didn’t simply take no for an answer. We found solutions where there seemingly weren’t any.”
Butterfield knows that continuing the pageant was an effort that took the involvement and work of many.
“We certainly didn’t do that on our own,” she said. “It is because of the generosity of this community and of the people around us that we were able to continue the Miss Tooele County legacy — to further the recognition and support of exceptional young women.”
Continuing the pageant and the legacy is something Butterfield doesn’t take lightly. Wearing the Miss Tooele County crown feels like a part of something bigger.
“When I walk down the hall of the county building and see the dozens of portraits of Miss Tooele County winners, I am more than honored to have mine among them,” she said. “It is a program that deserves recognition, as it not only has shared the talents and service of so many wonderful women, it is a symbol of decades of partnership in the community. It represents the countless hours of volunteer work, love, and service that Tooele County continues to embody and support. And that is not something that should ever be forgotten or undervalued.”
The crown means something else, too, for Butterfield. It’s a magnet for attention. Butterfield says wearing the crown is a “funny thing.” She laughs when she remembers driving to events with the three-inch crown atop her head. The attention it garners is especially evident when stopped at a light.
“People love to sneak looks at the obviously crazy chick who drives around with a crown on her head,” she said. “It’s always a bit fun to catch people staring, and smile.”
Butterfield laughs at the occasional awkward position wearing the crown has placed her in, but she feels it has also given her the means to be a positive role model. Butterfield’s favorite crowning moments were the reaction she received at community events from little girls. They are drawn to the crown and see the royalty almost as Disney princesses. Butterfield sees this an opportunity to be a role model to these young women.
She feels the Miss Tooele County program gives women who are accomplished, ambitious, intelligent and service-oriented the chance to share their goals with the community. It allows royalty to be role models for girls and encourage them to seek an education as well as civic responsibility, and encouraging young women to work toward accomplishing anything they set their mind to.
Accomplishing goals is something Butterfield knows something about. Butterfield graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor degree in communications in 2015. Specifically, Butterfield studied strategic communication, which focuses on persuasion, social influence, and behavior change. This area of study is applicable in the fields of public relations and advertising as well as health information, according to the University of Utah.
Butterfield was drawn to the degree after taking a class her first semester at the U from a professor who inspired her.
“The way public relations works is just interesting and I was just fascinated by it,” she said.
Now Butterfield lives and works in fast-paced New York City in public relations. Butterfield was drawn to the Big Apple because, “The entertainment industry is in New York and L.A.” Butterfield had an “in” in New York. Her sister, Jessie Butterfield, also works in the city as a make-up artist. It was big sister Jessie who helped connect Annie to ID and set up an interview for an internship.
Not only did Annie land a two-month internship after her initial interview but when internship time was over, she was hired as a full-time employee. She now works as an assistant to the senior vice president at the firm. Butterfield says her day-to-day routine is to “make sure the client knows what they’re doing and where they are going.”
Oftentimes, what the clients are doing is an interview at a late night show or daytime talk show in New York.
The Erda girl is very happy with her big-city life.
“New York is an energy,” she said. “You can find anything here.”
Specifically, Butterfield loves the architecture of New York, with her favorite being the arch at Washington Square Park. Butterfield works in another New York landmark, the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan.
It’s not just the buildings Butterfield finds captivating.
“New York has so much history,” she said.
When she walks the city she is amazed at discovering historical spots. One that comes to Butterfield’s mind is Federal Hall. The building stood at the intersection of Broad Street and Wall Street until 1812. It is the location George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.
“It’s a very neat site and holds a lot of history,” Butterfield said. “Lower Manhattan is filled with little nuggets of history like that. I love to explore, and look forward to doing that more in the future.”
It was serendipity that led Butterfield to discover her favorite spot in New York. One night, on her way to meet friends, Butterfield saw Washington Square Arch for the first time. She said she had no idea it even existed. She was talking to her mother on the phone when, she recounts, she literally walked right into it. Butterfield said, “It’s a magnificent sight, and at night it is lit and is simply breathtaking.”
The nonstop energy of New York City doesn’t keep Butterfield from missing her hometown.
“Obviously, I miss my family,” she said. “I miss the people.”
Butterfield has a soft spot in her heart for Erda.
“It’s a big part of who I am,” she said.
Even with a view from the 51st floor of the Trump Building, she said, “I miss the Erda sunset the most. I’ve never seen anything like it — the sunset over the lake.”
Remembering its spectacular hues over the water of the Great Salt Lake, she added, “It’s amazing.”
This year, as six young women take the stage to compete for the title of 2016 Miss Tooele County, Miss Tooele County the reigning Miss Tooele County, Annie Butterfield. will not be there to pass the crown. Due to scheduling conflicts and the increased demands from her work due to the Oscars, Butterfield will be busy handling her clients’ schedules and public relations concerns during the entertainment field’s big day and all the busy days leading up to it.
Butterfield does have advice for the next Miss Tooele County.
“Don’t be afraid of doing something big,” she said. “Pageants are hard work. Have confidence in yourself. Don’t be afraid to chase the big dreams.”
Having the confidence to not only dream big but to chase after them has taken Butterfield from her childhood home in Erda to catching her dreams in New York City.