To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

pageantry interview ● kira kazantsev The First of Her Kind Kira Kazantsev’s family has truly lived the American Dream, culminating with this first generation American’s very productive reign as Miss America A t a time when the national spotlight has been so focused on domestic violence, Kira Kazantsev’s voice cannot be loud enough. The third consec- utive Miss New York to win the title of Miss America, Kira has spent her year promoting the Children’s Miracle Network and touring the world with the USO to support the troops, but she has always made sure to raise awareness for her own platform, “Vow To End It,” because stopping domestic violence has become an ongoing struggle for millions of Kira’s peers. Recognizing the value of social media, and realizing the power of her built-in audiences on Facebook and Twitter, Kira created the hashtag #PutTheNailInIt, asking her fol- lowers to paint their left ring fingernails purple to promote domestic violence awareness. Soon enough, she had pictures of hands rolling in, undoubtedly sparking conversations all over the globe. And while her reign as Miss America 2015 will be over in a few months, it’s that kind of creative and clever thinking that should have people feeling certain that Kira will be just fine and ready to take on the world by her- self when she crowns her successor in September. Pageantry magazine: Take us back to the Miss America stage in Atlantic City. What memory still stands out? Kira Kazantsev: I will never forget when Chris Harrison said three-peat because that meant that I had won, and just walking down the runway, seeing my mom, getting down to give her a hug, and then after that is just all a blur. Imme- diately they whisk you off; you have a briefing, a press brief- ing, and security... all these types of things and then you have to greet all these different people. And then they take you up to a party and then finally you get to see your fam- ily, and two hours later you have to wake up to do all of the morning media. So I mean, just those first 24 hours are pretty crazy. 64 PAGEANTRY PM: A lot of responsibility comes with Miss America. What have you learned about yourself during this past year of service? KK: Traveling with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the International USO tour, and of course with my platform, it just gives you a real appreciation for life and how lucky we all are. It’s made me kind of really put life into perspective and if I’m having a bad day or maybe that conversation or that news article didn’t go exactly the way I wanted it to, you know what, that’s okay because at the end of the day, I have the things that really matter. PM: We all have a preconceived notion of what it would be like to be Miss America. Name one thing that you cannot prepare for in becoming Miss America. KK: There’s just no way you can prepare for the exhaustion that comes with the job. It’s absolutely the best job in the world. It’s the most incredible opportunity, but moving every two days and constantly being on and those types of things are quite difficult. And no one has this type of schedule, so you know, I guess those two weeks leading up to Miss America are kind of a mini-boot camp for all of the contestants, but when you’re living that life for an entire year, it does take its toll. But on the other hand, you also can’t prepare for the sheer joy that you get from the job. This is something that as hard as it is, it is so rewarding and fulfilling. And you really get as