Miss United States, 2011
Currently pursuing Masters Degree in Journalism at Regent University
Management Analyst for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic, Department of Defense
Anchorwoman/Reporter, WCTV-48, local education and municipal television station, City of Chesapeake, VA
Ashley Smith: Miss United States 2011
The 700 Club
SEVEN YEAR RUN
Five years ago, Ashley didn’t have any friends at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, VA. So she decided to enter the high school pageant when she was in her junior year to make friends.
“The only other options to make more friends in high school required some type of athletic ability,” she says.. “My opportunities were limited because I was in the International Baccaulerate (IB) program, and IB doesn’t allow you to be involved in anything during the day at school.”
Ashley watched pagents since she was a little girl and always admired the contestants. After competing in the high school pageant, she finished as first runner-up and won the next year, setting off a seven year career that includes titles as Miss Virginia Beach, Miss Virginia Peanut, Miss Norfolk, Miss Chesapeake and Miss Hampton Roads.
After her seven year run, Ashley hit a dry patch. She was discouraged over the last few years because she entered pageants and didn’t win anything. “It was a tough time for me and I started to question everything,” says Ashley. “Am I not good enough? What is it that I could be better at?” The pageants were starting to get costly and it bothered her that so much money was getting poured into her journey. She asked God, “Lord am I doing the right thing?”
Even though Ashley always had hope, she decided to get involved in other things. Earlier this year, Ashley decided to pursue her Master’s degree in journalism at Regent. She is an anchor on Channel 48 and works full time as a management analyst for the Navy. She decided to focus on her church and became the minister of music at her church, First Baptist Church Gilmerton.
In March, Ashley found out about Miss Virginia United States on Facebook and heard about this other pageant, Miss United States. “It kept nagging at me,” says Ashley. “I decided to look into it.” Then in April, Ashley competed against 22 delegates (not all states have a Miss United States) in Richmond, Virginia. She didn’t expect to win anything and considered herself “pageant rusty.” Ashley, 23, was thrilled to be crowned the winner.
Her platform is: Breast Cancer: It’s not just hereditary. Her grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer and unfortunately passed away in 2002. A year later, Ashley’s mom learned she had breast cancer. Today Ashley’s mom is healed.
Ashley wanted a national title so that she could speak about her platform across the country. In 2008, Ashley organized the inaugural “Queen of Pink” (Passionately Igniting the Need for Knowledge) Pageant, showcasing each breast cancer survivor contestant’s significant contributions to cancer awareness in her community.
”Often we live in a microwave society and I learned through this experience, if it’s promised to you, you have to keep pursuring it to see it come to fruition. God does not work on your timeframe, and beauty is not based on an outward appearance,” she says.
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