Whittier College may be a long way from Kansas, but Alyssa Klinzing had her own cheering party here when she recently vied for the title of Miss Kansas U.S.A. Fourth-year Alyssa Klinzing was crowned Miss Kansas U.S.A. 2019 on Nov. 25. “I competed for Miss Kansas [U.S.A.] 2017, and then I competed in [Miss] California [U.S.A.] 2018, and then won in Kansas for 2019,” said Klinzing. She explained that she was able to compete in California given her status as a student here, but decided this time around to run in Kansas. Klinzing has competed in a multitude of pageants over the last eight years, and has had to find a way to simultaneously balance school, work, and competitons.
According to Klinzing, there are three phases of the competition: “swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. They’re each one-third of your final score,” said Klinzing. “Then the top eight scorers are selected as a semifinalist to move on.” The top eight then compete a second time in the swimsuit and evening gown category, and finally the top five contestants are named. The top five then answer two onstage questions, and from there, the judges decide who will be named Miss Kansas U.S.A. “In the moment they announced my name as winner, I was overwhelmed with emotion,” said Klinzing. “I am so humbled to have been selected by the judges to represent Kansas at Miss U.S.A. My lifelong dream is actually coming true!”
Klinzing states she bonded with the other Miss Kansas U.S.A. contestants. “It was probably one of my favorite pageantry experiences,” said Klinzing. “The girls who were competing were so much fun to be around. I had a really awesome roommate for the weekend, and, overall, I just had a really fun time.” Some contestants from the pageant are even helping Klinzing on her journey to compete for Miss U.S.A.
“[They are] helping me organize fundraisers and with sponsor opportunities to help pay for this competition because it’s definitely a heavy burden financially,” said Klinzing. “It’s even harder balancing this with my college tuition, so I am looking for any opportunity to help me raise funds to get to the national stage.” The Miss U.S.A. pageant is being held with the Miss Teen U.S.A., and Klinzing is looking forward to sharing the experience with Miss Teen Kansas U.S.A.
“We actually got snowed in at the pageant, so it’s a good thing it was webcasted, because there weren’t a whole lot of people who could actually physically attend because of the snow and ice,” said Klinzing. Among those tuning in via webcasting was the Athenian Society, of which Klinzing is a member. “Seeing my sister doing what she loved was amazing” said third-year Destinee Moya. “When she won, I immediately started cheering and crying . . . I didn’t fully understand what this meant, but I knew how hard Alyssa worked and how much this meant to her.”
Klinzing admits that it is difficult to find the time to manage the competitions and her school work. “I will say that this semester — preparing for Miss Kansas U.S.A. [while] being a [fourth-year] in college was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done,” said Klinzing. “I was taking 21 credit hours, I’m taking five in-person classes and two online, my senior seminar, and my research methods.”
Klinzing is taking so many credits because she is setting herself up to graduate in May 2019, a year early. She took the bulk of her hard classes this semester so that, if she were to win Miss Kansas U.S.A., she could compete for Miss U.S.A. while taking an easier course load. “Next semester, I feel, will be a little bit easier for my school work, but time management was something that I quickly had to get on top of this semester. At times I failed, at times I was successful, so I’m really excited for this semester to wrap up — that way, I can say I completed it.” said Klinzing.
As of now, they have not released a date or location set for the Miss U.S.A. pageant, but one thing is for sure — Alyssa Klinzing will be there, representing her home state of Kansas.