Congratulations on being an America's Miss World National Finalist this year. How do you feel?
Thank you! I am over the moon with excitement. Having the opportunity and the honor of competing to represent America at the 2017 Miss World pageant in China is indescribable. Being a survivor and advocate for domestic violence awareness, as well as, being a National Finalist for America’s Miss World, will allow me the opportunity to help victims/survivors on a national level. Miss World revolves around its international charity: BEAUTY WITH A PURPOSE, which allows each contestant to make an impact in their community, as well as communities across the nation/globe.
Miss World is the oldest, most prestigious international pageant which is aired each year on E! Entertainment in over 150 nations and I hope I am lucky enough to be the 2017 America representative!
What part of the America's Miss World Pageant program are you most looking forward to? How will you prepare the contest ?
I am looking forward to all phases of competition, since the America’s Miss World organization embodies that of a well rounded woman. The various phases of competition for America’s Miss World include: interview, multimedia, fitness, poise/runway, and charitable cause.
However, I would say that I am MOST excited for the ‘sports and fitness’ phase since it is unlike any other pageant competition. It encourages women to commit to a healthy lifestyle, instead of encouraging them to just “fit in” to societies beauty standard : the standard that you have to be a size 2 to be a ‘model’ or to be ‘a beauty queen’. The sports and fitness competition will be a mental and physical challenge, and as an ex-athlete, I am excited to push my mind and body to be the best it can be .
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?
I have my Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations, as well as a minor in Information Technology. I also have specialty training in Intercultural Communications from Lorenzo de’ Medici, the Italian International Institute in Florence, Italy.
I am currently the Communications Specialist at the Nevada Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. My duties include social media, website design, rebranding of the coalition (this past January 2017), media outreach, public relations efforts, fundraising, and more! The Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence provides statewide advocacy, education and support of the front-line organizations that help those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault. NCEDSV is a private nonprofit 501(C)(3) corporation founded in 1980. At the coalition, I focus on learning more about and advocating for: domestic violence (DV), sexual assault (SA), human trafficking, stalking, male victims, children exposed to DV or SA, online safety, and mindful meditation for healing trauma.
I have worked for multiple hospitality marketing agencies in the past, but I never thought I would work for a nonprofit. After my recent domestic abuse incident, that left me in the hospital, I sought after how I can be a part of the movement to end violence against women. During my search, I came across a job opportunity that would allow me to be a voice for the voiceless and help others learn the warning signs of domestic abuse and how to receive help. Now, I couldn't imagine NOT working for a nonprofit!
You describe yourself as a domestic violence survivor. What do you want to do to help protect women's rights ?
Women’s rights issues have been around forever, and unfortunately, still exist in 2017. I am proud to fight for gender equality and be a voice for women’s rights. I do want to make one thing clear : fighting for women’s rights is not synonymous with man-hating, but instead, is synonymous with EQUALITY.
Any type of violence against women is a violation of human rights and a form of discrimination against women. It includes : physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, and financial abuse. I hope to help women understand their current rights and the rights that they are not receiving, yet should be.
What do you want to be in the future ?
My future career ambitions include continuing my advocacy and partnering with a community to create a private apartment complex for women and children (under 18) in violent situations that are fleeing their current home. This complex will be pet friendly since many shelters across the nation do not allow pets to be brought into shelters, which is why 72% of people do not leave violent homes (source: www.nnedv.org). This complex will seem like a normal apartment complex from the outside, act as a halfway house for families in need, and only organization workers and city officials will know what it truly is for. Many shelters strive to be ‘homey’ and warm, but they lack the interior decorating that can make a huge impact on the way victims/survivors see their new lives. Victims should not have to feel punished for escaping a life threatening situation, especially since the majority of these victims will be suffering from depression and PTSD. People forget that your environment can make or break your mental health and how you feel about yourself; therefore, I want to make these complexes colorful, modern, and warm.
Your favorite beauty queen?
Pia Wurtzbach. She is pure beauty inside and out. I love her attitude and that she isn't afraid to stand up for herself. I loved when she shut down “haters” on her social media when they criticized her for not doing her charitable duties toward HIV/AIDS awareness.
"So before you go saying that I haven't done anything, the mere fact that you're talking about how little I am doing charity work for HIV/AIDS, isn't that awareness in itself? You're thinking about it, right? Talking about it, correct? Bashing me in the process BUT still getting the message out there," - Pia Wurtzbach posted on her Instagram account
Pia was crowned Miss Universe on 20 December 2015 after becoming Miss Universe Philippines 2015 at the Binibining Pilipinas Pageant on 15 March 2015.
Wurtzbach is the third Filipina to win the title of Miss Universe, following Gloria Diaz who won in 1969 and Margarita Moran who won in 1973.
What is your message to young girls and young women ?
I hope to empower all women and girls to realize their potential and worth. I want them to know that their worth is not defined by what others say, but instead, is defined by what YOU do.
Thanks to the beautiful Kae for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss World America 2017 pageant!