Students crowned pageant queens
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UNLV students use titles to support community platforms
Recently crowned Miss Greater Las Vegas Ashley Kringen and Miss Clark County Christina DeLessio are breaking the bumbling beauty queen stereotype.
Kringen and DeLessio, both UNLV students, were crowned Feb. 1 at the Miss Greater Las Vegas & Miss Clark County Dual Scholarship Pageant. The pageant is the official preliminary for the Miss Nevada and Miss America Programs, the largest source of scholarship money available for young women in the world.
UNLV sports instructor and co-director of the pageant Brooke Allen-Burnstein said, “The best thing about being a part of the program is enriching girls’ lives by giving them the opportunity to support their platforms.”
In addition to financial assistance, the pageant amplifies the voices of its current titleholders when advocating their personal causes giving them the opportunity to serve as goodwill ambassadors for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Miss Greater Las Vegas Ashley Kringen’s platform is suicide prevention.
Kringen volunteers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention planning their annual walk, finding sponsorship, and hosting their events.
“I want to set up a [UNLV] chapter for Active Minds,” Kringen said. [Active Minds] is the only college student oriented organization that works to reduce the stigmas that come with mental illnesses, helping [students] become more able to talk more open about [their problems].
A senior broadcast journalism major, Kringen also incorporates her platform into the classroom.
“I talked to (journalism professor) Gary Larson about doing a presentation on safely reporting suicide.”
Kringen also plans to create a hot line providing support for students who are contemplating suicide, a service that UNLV has yet to offer.
Kringen said, “[The pageant] was a great way to challenge myself. I’ve achieved and grown so much.”
As Miss Clark County, Christina DeLessio plans on enriching the lives of at-risk children through the fine arts. A dance teacher at a local studio and social work major, DeLessio is well-equipped to support her platform.
“My mother opened a middle school back in 2006 and I started teaching dance to the at-risk youth that attended it,” DeLessio explained. “I loved that.”
DeLessio reaches out the community through local organizations as well as schools. “I just started a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs to start an annual fundraiser…and I’ll be teaching dance twice a week there.”
Another goal of DeLessio’s is to start a conservatory of the arts.
“It’s always been my mission and I plan to start working on that after graduating.”
As Miss Greater Las Vegas and Miss Clark County, Kringen and DeLessio attend events together and are both local ambassadors for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson.
“We’ve grown a lot closer,” said Kringen. “Ultimately it’ll come down to [competing against each other].”
Though the ladies will eventually compete for the Miss Nevada crown, don’t expect the claws to come out.
“We’ll be happy for each other and we’ll have nothing but support for each other when the pageant comes,” DeLessio said.
“DeLessio advised that all partake in the next pageant. “You have nothing to lose; only to gain. You’d be surprised at how much you take away from it.”
Maryn Russel, co-director of the pageant said, “[Contestants] better themselves by becoming more well-spoken, more committed to their communities, and it’s a good opportunity to make friends. It’s the most fun scholarship process you’ll ever go through.”