On February 16th, 2019, 22 year old Kylie Blakely won the title of Miss Osceola during the 5th annual Miss Osceola Scholarship Pageant held during the Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show & Fair. The Miss Osceola Pageant is a preliminary pageant for Miss America. Kylie will compete for the title of Miss Florida in Lakeland at the RP Funding Center June 25th-29th. The young woman who becomes Miss Florida will go on to compete for the title of Miss America this September in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Miss America Organization is the largest provider of women’s scholarships in the world, providing over $45 million in tuition scholarship assistance in the past year alone!
To win the title of Miss Osceola, Kylie competed in the areas of interview, swimsuit, talent, and formal wear. Her platform is Stopping Soldier Suicide, in which she works to spread awareness for veteran’s mental health. Kylie has an incredibly high respect for men and women who have served our country. Unfortunately, statistics show that 22 soldiers commit suicide every single day. According to the Department of Defense Quarterly Suicide Report, suicide rates for veterans ranging in age from 18 to 34 years old increased from 40.4 deaths by suicide per 100,000 in 2015 to 45 suicide deaths per 100,000 in 2016. “This is a climbing statistic that is absolutely unacceptable” Kylie stated, “coming home should feel like coming home, and the transition from military to civilian life should be made more smooth and welcoming.”
Kylie is currently working on her medical undergraduate degree and has the long term goal of obtaining her MD and working at the VA (Veteran’s Affairs) Hospital as an anesthesiologist. She is a 5th generation Osceola County resident and a graduate of Osceola High School. As Miss Osceola 2019 she hopes to progress in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant to become Miss Florida, where she can then use her title as Miss Florida to continue to promote awareness and advocate organizations which not only aid the transition to civilian life, but also advocate a healthy veteran lifestyle. “I am honored to represent my county and my hometown at Miss Florida, and will continue to do my best to make my hometown proud. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be Miss Osceola and my only hope is that I leave a lasting impression and legacy of mental health awareness and advocacy in the Osceola County veteran community.”
Competitors and title holders for Miss America and the qualifying pageants annually contribute thousands upon thousands of hours of community service. The Miss America Competition serves as a platform to amplify women’s voices, and recently they revamped the pageant to be “Miss America 2.0”. This included the elimination of the swimsuit competition and increased the opportunities throughout the competition for the titleholders to promote and advocate for their platforms and social impact initiatives. The Miss America Organization now places more emphasis than ever before on empowering young women, allowing them an outlet to have a lasting impact in society and be a positive influence in our world. Like Kylie, many of these young women wish to make a difference in their communities and have long-term goals for their education and careers in which they will utilize their scholarship money to reach these goals. The Miss America 2.0 mission statement is “Prepare great women for the world. Prepare the world for great women.”
Miss Osceola is an active member in our community. She is someone who positively impacts everyone she comes across, and works to enrich the lives of those she represents. Contestants must be between the ages of 17-24. For more information on booking or becoming Miss Osceola, you can visit osceolacountyfair.com. Over $3,000 in scholarships were awarded at last year’s competition, all of which will help young women achieve their educational goals and aid them in pursuing careers which will allow them to make a difference in our world. We wish Kylie the best of luck at the upcoming Miss Florida pageant! We know she will make Osceola County incredibly proud, and know she would be an incredible representative for the great state of Florida. For more information on the Miss Florida competition you may visit missflorida.org, and more information regarding the Miss America Organization and Pageant can be found at missamerica.org.