Samantha Casey ’10 was crowned Miss Virginia USA 2010 Nov. 21. The Jeffersonton, Va. native will spend the next few months gearing up for the National Miss USA Pageant to be held in Las Vegas April 18.
Despite her fame as a pageant queen, there is more to Casey than her recently acquired title.
Contrary to many pageant contenders who enter their first pageants as children, Casey did not begin competing until the age of 14. Instead, she spent her time studying and playing varsity basketball and tennis.
“It’s the last thing I ever thought I’d be doing,” Casey said. “I was a huge tomboy in high school.”
Her first pageant was a state-wide competition, a huge undertaking for an untried contestant. Casey said that preparing for the event was more intense than she had first realized, but she came to enjoy the challenge of pushing herself to new physical and mental limits.
“I really enjoyed the competitive part about it,” she said. “It was different than anything I had done before.”
In 2006, Casey was crowned Miss Teen Virginia, and she went on to become third runner-up at the national Miss Teen USA competition.
At the College, she became involved in the social sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma and Love146, an organization dedicated to the prevention of child sex-trafficking. After becoming an avid supporter and spokesperson for the group, Casey’s desire to promote the program motivated her to pursue another pageant crown.
“I was able to see how much the Miss Virginia title opens doors to help charities,” she said.
The national pageant will consist of swimsuit and ball gown competitions as well as personal interviews. Judges will select five finalists after rounds of on-stage questioning.
While she admitted that the stereotype of pageant queens is less than flattering, she said that winning a title is not easy. She usually spends between 18 and 21 hours in the gym each week, training for the physical aspect of the competition.
Casey is also preparing for the interview portion of the competition. She confesses to being a “news junkie,” and says she consistently stays on top of current events through television, radio, internet and newspapers. She also trains with a family friend who is involved in politics to hone her public speaking skills.
Casey is excited about the new turn she claims the Miss USA Pageant has taken. She believes the competition has become less about beauty and designer clothes and more focused on academics, talents, and communication skills. The contenders must now display a greater grasp of current events and world issues.
Although preparing for the Miss USA competition dominates her time, Casey is adamant that pageants do not rule her life. She plans to continue pursuing a degree in business after the upcoming pageant and is considering careers in commercial real estate and environmental awareness.
“I look at myself as much more academic and athletic than as just a pageant queen,” she says, “I look at myself as a career woman, and I am looking forward to getting into the business world. This [pageant] is one of the things that I’ve been blessed to experience in my life, but it’s not my life.”
If Casey wins the Miss USA title, she will go on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
If she does not win she believes that this will be her final pageant.
The Miss USA Pageant will air April 18.