Hughes-Shaw is an Iowa native. Born and raised in Rock Island, Iowa, she had a long journey before starting her pageant career.
Growing up, Hughes-Shaw learned both classical and hip-hop violin. She has been able to play with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra as well as the world-renowned Midori.
Hughes-Shaw graduated from Rock Island High School in Rock Island, Iowa. During her freshman year at the University of Iowa, she competed in the 2015 Miss Scott County Pageant. While she did not place, she returned to compete two years later, winning the title of Miss Wild Rose 2017.
While she did not make the finals at Miss Iowa 2017, her violin talents won her a Non Finalist Talent Award. She also won the Applause Award from the judges. This encouraged her to return to the Miss Iowa stage for a second time as Miss Clinton County 2018.
Hughes-Shaw again dazzled the judges with her violin talents, scooping up her second Preliminary Talent Award. After being named the People’s Choice Winner, Hughes-Shaw was crowned Miss Iowa 2018 on June 16th, 2018 at the Adler Theatre located in Davenport, Iowa.
As Miss Iowa, Hughes-Shaw is fiercely advocating for her platform, “How About H.O.P.E.?” (Helping Other and Providing Encouragement. Her aim is to help those struggling with mental illness and suicide.
Her platform is partly inspired by her own struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts. At 17-years-old, Hughes-Shaw’s father was in prison and her mother was seriously ill. She wants to take her struggles and show others that there is, in fact, hope.
She is currently a junior at the University of Iowa where she is pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication with a certificate in Critical Cultural Competence. During her time, she has founded an Out of the Darkness Walk at the University of Iowa to aid the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She has also served as the Senior Assistant Editor of LOVE Girls Magazine since 2014.
After graduation in 2020, she hopes to become a television news reporter or anchor. Her dream is to one day have her own talk show titled, “Mornings with Mikhayla.”
Hughes-Shaw will compete for the title of Miss America 2019 on September 9, 2018 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.