Interview: Riley Hedstrom is ‘getting comfortable being uncomfortable’

Riley Hedstrom
Riley Hedstrom. Photo Credit: Maya McComas

Riley Hedstrom is the pride of Blaine, Minnesota. He chatted with #Powerjournalist Markos Papadatos about competing for the 2024 “Mister USA” and repping his state.

“The important thing in life is not victory but combat; it is not to have vanquished but to have fought well,” stated Pierre de Coubertin, a French Educator who was primarily responsible for the revival of the Olympic Games in 1894. Riley Hedstrom is such an individual.

Mister Minnesota

On representing Minnesota in the 2024 Mister USA competition, he said, “It feels great. It’s a huge honor for me to represent my home state. I lived in Minnesota until I was 23 years old, and I still have a lot of friends and family there. The state, as a whole, means a lot to me. The cultural stereotype ‘Minnesota nice’ is definitely a thing. That is why I try to go the extra mile to help people whenever I can. For all of these reasons, I am really proud to represent my state and I am extremely grateful to have grown up where I did.”

While he was born and raised in Minnesota, Hedstrom now resides in Virginia.

Mister USA 2024

Mister USA is an American beauty pageant, which is held annually, and the winner goes on to represent the United States in the Mister Universe competition. It is a celebration of culture, diversity, beauty, intelligence and empowerment. They believe in the power of young leaders to make a difference in the world. It is not solely about outer beauty; it recognizes the inner beauty and intelligence of their contestants.

This competition will be held on August 11, 2024 in Hollywood. The winner of Mister USA will subsequently represent USA at “Mister Universe” on September 28, 2024 at The Biltmore in Los Angeles, California.

The motivational message that he wants to convey

On the message that he wants to convey through Mister USA, Hedstrom shared, “The message I want to get across is that real personal growth only happens when you step of your comfort zone, and when you really challenge yourself. I want to encourage others to do the same when those opportunities present themselves.”

Daily motivations

On his daily motivations, he said, “I am trying to be present for my partner and my pets right now. That’s a big daily motivator. Also, the whole idea of continuous improvement is really important to me. If I can learn something new or become slightly better at some kind of skill or task in a day, then I consider that a successful day.”

“Lately, I’ve been trying to focus more on personal growth, and I think it’s important to do things that make you uncomfortable,” he said about his daily motivations.

“Also, me and my fiancé are definitely trying to start a family sometime soon,” he revealed. We have a couple of really needy dogs right now, but we are open to adding a couple of kids in the mix sometime before we get too old. That is a big priority for us. I hope this Mister USA competition can help us achieve that goal in some way.”

“Right now, my main focus is trying to advance in my career a bit more. Hopefully, in the next five years, we can have at least a kid or two.”

Stage of his life

On the title of the current chapter of his life, Hedstrom said, “Getting comfortable being uncomfortable.” “That has been important to me lately,” he admitted. “Doing things that really force me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to be really conscientious with that lately. I think it’s really important to do so.”

Superpower of choice

If he were to have any superpower, it would be “time control.” “I would stop time and slow it down, especially since sometimes 24 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to get things done,” he said.

Hedstrom listed “triple jump and pole vault” as his favorite track and field events, and “freestyle” as his favorite stroke in swimming. “I really enjoyed pole vaulting; that was the most fun. I like the rush and flying through the air,” he said.


On his definition of the word success, he said, “Success is definitely something that you have to define yourself because it looks different for everybody.”

“We all come from different backgrounds, but for me, personally, I would define success as being surrounded by loved ones that push you to continue improving yourself and still accept you despite any flaws or setbacks that you may encounter on your journey. If you have that support in your life, then that’s a success,” he elaborated.

Closing thoughts on ‘Mister USA’

Hedstrom remarked about “Mister USA,” “I would encourage people to step out of their comfort zone. This competition is something that would have absolutely terrified me growing up. Even though I am still a bit nervous, I am willing to push through that and create those experiences where you are really forcing yourself to grow, learn, and to keep improving. It will be cool to see how it all pans out. I am super excited for it all.”

To learn more about Riley Hedstrom, follow him on Instagram.