Here she is, Miss America. And there she goes. It seems that, once the crown is on, the sash is tied, and the roses are clutched, it's easy to forget about the reigning Miss America. If you're a fan of the yearly competition, you know that there are duties that need to be fulfilled under penalty of the crown going to the first runner-up, but what does Miss America really do in a year? It can be figured out by tracing the last 365 days of the previous winner, who will be passing on the crown to the 2016 winner on Sept. 13. So, what is 2015 Miss America Kira Kazantsev doing?
Turns out, the 2015 winner has been very busy over the past year. In fact, being Miss America sounds totally exhausting. "A lot of people don’t realize that I’m in a different city every two days,” she told Hollywood Life, “I travel every month and I’m still expected to show up to every event bright eyed and bushy tailed looking great and knowing what I’m talking about... It can be the most challenging year in the world, but it’s also the most rewarding year of your life.” Here's how Kazantsev spent that year:
First, A Refresher
If last year's competition isn't still fresh in your mind, let's remind you who Kazantsev is: She entered the competition as Miss New York and was actually the third contestant in a row to bring the crown back to the Empire State. (New York represent!) She was a strong performer in the contest overall — hence winning the whole shebang — but my favorite thing about her is that, for her talent, she performed a mash-up of Pharrell's "Happy" and "Cups" from Pitch Perfect.
She Traveled — A Lot
According to an interview in the Press of Atlantic City, being Miss America brought Kazantsev on a journey of more than 24,000 miles. During that time, she supported organizations like the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and Safe Horizons, but she was also the first Miss America since 1971 to go overseas on the USO tour. “It’s not all gumdrops and rainbows," she told the paper, "It’s hard work and it pushes you more than you ever imagined being pushed. It takes you outside of your comfort zone and it’s exhausting. You have to be able to speak on the fly and deal with a large variety of types of people.” I bet even the most congenial of Miss Congeniality winners would have their nerves fried by the end of the year.
She's Made A Ton Of Media Appearances
You've probably seen her pop up somewhere, be it an award show or sporting event. The main job of Miss America, it seems, is to smile and appear before the public. According to the New York Post, her big year included introducing Pitbull at the American Music Awards among a handful of other appearances that make me tired just thinking about them.
She Had to Weigh In On Everything
I mean, one outlet even asked her which of the Real Housewives would make the best pageant queen. I'm totally into her answer, but, with all of the flying around advocating for causes, who has time to keep up with the Real Houswives? If you think that's not so hard, just see what happened when Cosmopolitan made her ask regular guys some pageant questions. (Their non-answers are kind of hilarious.)
One Thing She Hasn't Had To Do Yet — Figure Out What's Next
Turns out, Kazantsev doesn't exactly know what she wants to be when she grows up. According to her blog, she came to Miss America on a path — she wanted to be a lawyer — but has gotten so many opportunities through the pageant that she doesn't know if she wants to follow her pre-crown game plan. (According to the Post, the one thing she's sure of is she's giving up New York for California—boo!) "What I do know is this," she writes. "I will always be an advocate for DV awareness and women’s empowerment. I will always be a part of my CMN Hospitals family. I will always support and promote the USO. I will always promote and give back to the Miss America Organization, and I will most definitely be using my scholarship money for a graduate degree. And I know in my heart that I will be just fine."
Fingers crossed her next year won't be so tiring.