Miss America 2015: Kira-sistible

I’m going to make this short and sweet because, let’s be honest, Sunday is a school night for this granny and it’s already past midnight.

In case you were watching football instead of Miss America tonight, let me fill you in: Miss New York won for the third year in a row. According to Facebook, people right now feel all the feels. So. Many. Feelings.


I’ve read some really nasty comments about Kira Kazantsev winning Miss America this evening. I’ve also read a lot of wonderful things, however am having a really hard time not letting the negativity overshadow the excitement. It’s taking everything in my power to not call folks out by name on my blog at the moment, because I am sorely disappointed in the lack of class I’ve seen on social media. I want to let these sourpusses know that in no circumstance is it okay to bash a young woman- particularly one that you don’t know. I’m glad everyone has opinions. That in itself is fine. Actually, opinions are great. Otherwise, who would watch the pageant? But put on your big kid pants and try to remember that these women are humans who are defined by far more than a bikini and plastic cup (named Wilson, in case anyone wanted to know).

Let me tell you a few things about Kira. She has been in Atlantic City with the other 52 contestants for the last two weeks. Many of you know that two weeks ago was the two year anniversary of my mother’s passing. Kira took the time out of her crazy-busy schedule at Miss America to send me random texts saying “I love you!” and “I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you.” During a period of time that was about her dreams and her success and her experience, she made an effort to make me feel loved and comforted. That’s something special. kira3Rewinding 1.5 years, I’ll never forget when she competed in her first local pageant in the Miss America Organization, because it was during my first week as Miss New York. She shone so darn bright on that stage and was so refreshingly non-pageanty that everyone held the phone and asked where she came from. Through laughter after winning, she requested a lesson from me on how to put on the crown since she had never worn one before (wait, wearing a crown isn’t normal? What?). Her ability to laugh at herself fumbling with the crown made me fall in love with her on that very first night. Such a goof. But besides the fact that she’s down-to-earth and thoughtful, Kira is absolutely brilliant. She speaks fluent Russian and Spanish, graduated as a triple major, and was accepted into some of the most competitive law schools in the country. On top of that, she has overcome tremendous struggles that I won’t share here, but are the motivation for her platform, “Love Shouldn’t Hurt”- raising awareness for domestic violence. This girl is a good human. Someone worthy of being a role model.

But you’re angry that she sang while using a plastic cup as percussion?

Because that matters so much. Right.

Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who takes talent very seriously. Talent is my jam. I won talent in both Virginia and New York when I competed. I sang professionally for a year. I’ve taken voice lessons since I was nine. I know what I’m doing. But I’m not offended that someone whose strength wasn’t talent won Miss America. I still think talent is an important part of the competition, but Kira was engaging, personable, and didn’t try to scream out a song that she wasn’t capable of singing. She knew her voice and used it in a way that was reflective of her overall appeal. I applaud that. Plus I really loved the nod to Anna Kendrick and Pitch Perfect (for those of you who live under a rock, that movie inspired Kira’s cup action- she didn’t get the idea from the cafeteria table in third grade). Even if you don’t agree with my assessment, why do you think it is okay to put her down? The argument people love to make is “she put herself in the spotlight to be ridiculed.” Um. Nope. Not why she competed at Miss America. She put herself in the spotlight so that she could have a platform to make a real difference in this crazy world and maybe meet Beyonce (I mean…). And even IF Kira held up a big sign that said, “I’d like you to ridicule me, please!”- what kind of person does that make you if you have the desire to do that? Take a Xanax or chug some wine or maybe both and just go to a corner and stay there.

Okay, so the cup thing was an issue. Addressed that. The other issue was people saying she isn’t pretty enough. Part of me doesn’t even want to tackle the ridiculousness of these statements because I just…can’t. For lack of better words. I simply cannot. Kira is probably top 5 hottest girls I know, which really says something, because I know a LOT of hot girls. Does that sound weird? Yes it does, but it’s true. Thanks to the Miss America Organization, my girlfriends are really easy on the eyes. Said it. Anyways, how does someone get the honor of being on my personal list of top 5 hotties? Well, first of all, they have to be really gorgeous. Kira: √. Second, they have to carry themselves with a confidence that makes every head turn. Kira: √. Third, they must dress in a way that only 1 out of 1,000,000 can pull off. Kira: √. I’m allowed to be shallow here because, remember, we are addressing the fact that people have attacked her physical appearance. Miss America is a beauty pageant  scholarship program where the girls are, yes, judged on how they look, but I didn’t see anyone on that stage- Kira included- who wouldn’t get a thumbs up on the thumbs up/thumbs down test. Don’t know that test? Ask your boyfriend. He knows.


A picture from the night Kira won her first ever local pageant in the Miss America Organization! Oh and that other hot blonde I’m sandwiched between? That would be the current Miss CT, Acacia Courtney, who also rocked it as a semi-finalist this evening.

I hope most of you are sleeping off all of your feelings by now, but let this post remind you that you don’t know the hearts and minds of anyone you see on television. Whether a celebrity or a pageant girl, you have no right to tear people down- especially those who are using their time in the limelight for greater good. If you’re a pageant girl who was saying negative things about Kira, I’m even more disappointed. More than anyone, you should be able to imagine how it’d feel to be in her platform heels shoes. Let’s pull it together, everyone, and be happy for this woman who I can personally confirm is a gem of a being.

I kind of want to end with a sassy “HAH! Even if you don’t like her, she is Miss America and you’re not nanananabooboo,” but that just doesn’t seem classy and is maybe even hypocritical, so I’ll end by saying congrats, Kira! Your heart obviously won the judges over in your private interview, you rocked it onstage, and you stayed authentic the whole time. Those are accomplishments no one can ever take away from you! Way to make history with the threepeat and I’m beyond excited to watch you take over the world this year! You are simply Kira-sistible.

BTdubs, eight of my predicted 10 (<– click) made the first cut. Just saying.


Okay, I’m typing things like “BTdubs.” I should go to bed. Night.



Filed under Pageantry

18 responses to “Miss America 2015: Kira-sistible

  1. Dana

    Great Assessment! Kira came of as smart, beautiful, and fun! She will be a great Miss America! And….if I remember correctly, when I competed in the MAO system, they stressed the importance of having a talent that was relatable in current pop culture.

  2. Ali S

    I think Kira is adorable! She also radiates being smart, confident and a great person. People need to get over their jealousy and be happy for other people. Being negative gets you no where. Congrats Kira!

  3. I’m so glad you posted this. As a former Miss New York who personally connected with her on many levels, who better to come to her defense, while simply calling out the ignorance. Your witty remarks keep it refreshing while addressing the serious issue of online bashing over what? Someone winning a contest. Thank you, for all of this.

  4. Teri Lynn

    Totally know this is the right girl at the right moment. She has however been crafting her run for Miss American since elementary school. She was a Texas CoEd queen in 2003-04, National American Miss California Pre Teen in 2004, and National American Miss New York in 2012 and placed 1st runner up at nationals that year. Maybe she needed help pinning a round crown, but she has been a fabulous serving queen for years. She has had the opportunity to serve some of the most difficult states to win a title in. Kira is well prepared for the job of Miss America. Congrats to her. Thank you for the insight to her sweet caring nature.

  5. Jane

    Love your blog and wish her all the best but I feel the Miss America board needs to better clarify how contestants move forward in the rounds. I certainly understand the top 15 but from there it is confusing. I assume the girls that score highest in the night’s bathing suit competition move forward to top twelve. Then the girls with the night’s highest evening gown scores move to top ten to perform in talent. So I am led to believe the girls with the highest talent would move to top five. Certainly that couldn’t have been the case last night and I’m not just saying Miss NY. Are the preliminary scores figured in on moving through the rounds? So to people who are not knowledgeable about “moving forward” I can see criticism arising. That being said again I always wish anyone who wins the best.

  6. baby ruth

    yes and amen. former MAO as well. As an opera singer I completely agree with your talent assessment. Better to sing a simple song perfectly than to botch a difficult one. Knowing and owning your limitations is such an admirable quality. I personally think she is beautiful and was articulate in all aspects (from a relatively unbiased television watcher). Whoever said she wasn’t attractive is blinded by jealousy! I’ll be honest, I’m not sure my own pride could handle standing next to her 🙂 What an incredible moment. Last night I was proud to see my two local crowns in my daughters room. I know the system, I know the struggles, I know the hard work and last night showed why I love it. Quality women making a positive impact on young ladies and earning an education. Isn’t that every mothers dream?!

  7. Couldn’t agree more, without knowing her personally you took the words right outta my mouth!

    And as a general rule we need to support each other, as women and human beings. There’s enough judgement in the world, we should uplift one another instead of tearing them down.

    Wouldn’t we want someone to do that for us if it were you on that stage just winning a title you worked hard for?!!

    Bravo Miss NY for being fresh, brilliant, well spoken, and relatable.

    I agree though I think if MAO would explain the final night scoring a bit better people wouldn’t be having all these questions.

  8. Merrily Castro

    I read every word you wrote. At first because I was very impressed with how well it was written. Second the message that was being portrayed is so important. In particular to KIra and also in so many ways “bashing ” is done and out of control. Rudeness is not acceptable anywhere.
    Thank you so much for sharing and writing so eloquently this message of great importance.

  9. Frank Valentine

    Thank you for the excellent article. Just last year, Nina Davuluri had to endure post-pageant snipes because of her Indian ancestry. She showed class by refusing to be defeated by the hate.
    No doubt people who are desperate for media exposure will ridicule the new Miss America. That’s just their shallowness they’re exposing.

  10. Nanananabooboo it is! No matter who wins, there is always someone negative stepping up to criticize. Hope she has a GREAT year!

  11. Very all said, I think she is absolutely adorable , she will represent her crown beautifully

  12. Kelly

    Great post. It takes a lot to overcome meanness and stupidity. I believe you nailed it 😀

  13. Pat Pate

    I think she truly deserved it. I had picked Florida or her to win. I loved her talent. People make me so angry when they use the social media like they do. She will represent American Well. Congratulations Miss New York.

  14. Desiree Moana

    Congrats to Kira…rock it out, make an impact and inspire others to do the same in whatever venue they choose!!

  15. Reblogged this on The PageantFile and commented:
    After Mallory Hagan was crowned Miss America, Shannon Oliver took over the coveted Miss New York crown. She has grown close to Kira throughout both of her local titles, and as she took the New York crown. Here, she shares her opinion on Kira’s winning, the cyberbullying she is facing, and her overall opinion of the pageant with witty comments and some pictures. A great article from one Miss New York to another.

  16. This was soooooooooooo good! I’ve been defending her all day and I’m glad you put it into words.

  17. I think you are missing the point and letting your emotions and closeness to Kira cloud your judgement on this issue. The issue is not about “Kira”. The issue is the dumbing down of the talent category and legitimizing it by judging this “talent” as one to be worthy of any Miss America. I blame it on the judging, not the contestant. What’s next? Beer pong while singing the latest pop song? I cringe to think of what a blow this was to the pageant. Gone are the good old days of dignity and class.

    • Diane,

      First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my post. Obviously you care about the Miss America Organization- people like you are crucial in keeping the program relevant! In response to your assessment that I let me emotions and closeness to Kira cloud my judgment, I’d like to let you know that I would have written a similar post about any young woman who won Miss America and received the same backlash. Naturally, I wouldn’t have the personal anecdotes if- say Arkansas- had won and was met with such disapproval, but the message would have been the exact same: people have GOT to stop the culture of online bullying and covering mean-spirited comments with the mask of “allowed to have an opinion.”

      I certainly appreciate that, to you, the issue is about the judging panel and not about Kira. If people are angry, then I think that view is certainly the most valid. Kira did nothing but show up and do her personal best- it was the judges who made the choice to reward what she brought to the table. I do think you need to reevaluate the extremity of your own emotions regarding Kira’s talent, however. I’m pretty sure that saying “What’s next? Beer pong?” is a little childish. Just because you associate a red cup (not even a solo cup, might I add) with your college days does not mean that the next obvious step is for contestants to start shotgunning beers onstage. Personally, I associate solo cups with backyard barbecues, but I’m not suggesting that contestants are going to start marinating ribs onstage. Let’s keep the overreacting to a realistic minimum. That being said, I also want to refresh your memory and point out that Kira actually sang, which- last time I checked- is an acceptable talent. And frankly, she sang a whole lot better than many other contestants.

      If gone are the days of dignity and class, then I ask you to explain to me Kira’s reaction to online bullies. Not once has she attacked people the way that she’s been attacked. Not once has she been unable to verbalize her choices in an interview. If “class” is only associated with women who wear a crown, sing classical music, and simply smile politely, then “class” is what will stop the Miss America Pageant from growing its appeal and viewership. Mind you, I am a classical singer, so this is not putting down that realm of talent. I’m simply pointing out that true class and dignity is found in a confident, kind, and mature soul- and Kira certainly has displayed that kind of spirit.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to read my post, voice your opinion, and care about the MAO. I hope you find this response enlightening and will perhaps let it help you reprocess some of your feelings. Life is too short to harbor so much resentment! Particularly over a pageant 🙂

      Warm Regards,


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