Who is Michaela Rose Kenny?
Currently USA National Miss NY 2016
Formerly Miss NY Teen America 2010
Age: 21 years old (as of December 17th, 1993)
Hometown: Geneva, NY Finger Lakes Region
Platform: Mental Health Matters: Stomping out Stigma by Promoting Awareness
Social Media: Public Facebook Page
Why did you begin competing in pageants?: My mother allowed me to compete after my first year of high school, and upon the termination of my first relationship. She thought wearing a ball gown on stage and a power suit during interview would make me happy. She also finally got me to choose one of the endless extracurricular activi ties I had been involved in by age 15 – piano – as my talent of choice. My mother had originally been against the idea of “beauty pageants” but she researched the scholarship component and jumped at the opportunity for me to promote something meaningful. As Miss Teen NY I went to schools in the hopes that I would encourage students to reach higher academically, serve the community and tell the difference between good and bad peer pressure. I presented my anti-bullying work at various events and lead by example throughout high school. I loved being a positive role model in my hometown.
What do you hope to gain, other than a title?: Although it would be amazing to win the title of USA National Miss, or represent another system locally, state-wide or nationally, what I love most about pageantry is the contagious positivity. As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety, competing in pageants in an excellent way to combat my fears and overcome obstacles. I have grown to love working out – I even taught fitness classes at Clarkson University for many semesters! I’ve learned how to maintain a healthy diet, manage time, speak publicly, take on leadership roles, persist despite failures, advocate for incredibly important causes, cultivate a pageant sisterhood, and I even taught myself how to play the flute for a talent! I raised about $1000 for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and volunteered on Miracle Treat Day. I made people smile, and I helped to save lives. In the end, it’s not the money or fame that will fulfill us; it is the legacy we leave behind after we have completed our personal missions in life. The connections and money made are also nice.
Why is your platform unique? :
My platform promotes suicide prevention by addressing the root of the issue – mental illness stigma. Through education and social acceptance, more people will pursue treatment. They will no longer feel ashamed to receive a diagnosis, to seek counseling, to talk about their struggles and regularly take medication. Open and respectful communication will allow much better access to mental health resources. It will encourage a positive, supportive environment where those suffering from chronic conditions can learn to cope with symptoms while pursuing their dreams like higher education and career of choice.
With Miss America in Atlantic City, have you attended or do you plan on attending the pageant? : I actually have attended the pageant this past year and plan to again in future years! I went to support my best friend, Miss Rhode Island 2015 Allie Curtis, and also my pageant sister, Miss New York 2015 Jamie Macchia. I am friends with many past, current, and future titleholders in this organization, and I wholeheartedly support the Miss America Organization. I hold dearly “success, style, scholarship, and service” – the four points of each dainty MAO crown. In the past I have watched on tv, and it was fabulous despite some “unique” fun facts flashing across the screen.
What has been your favorite appearance or service event as a titleholder?: I have not made many appearances since my crowning but I cannot wait for several this holiday season! I want to volunteer at the local soup kitchen, take the Girl Scouts I lead to the animal shelter, visit absolutely everywhere in NYC and raise donations of food, clothes, shoes, and toys for families in need.
What appearance or service event would you like to do most before the end of your reign? : I would like to make some local and national appearances through Active Minds, an organization that works to “change the conversation about mental health.” After years of intent and months of planning, I successfully started a chapter at Clarkson University. I want to develop this club chapter and get our members out and about in the community. We would spread awareness on a much larger scale in the hopes of reaching those in need, possibly saving lives in the process.
Which is your favorite phase of competition?: I actually love all of competition! I’m most confident when dancing and strutting down the runway in very tall heels. I work hard to improve at everything as best that I can, and am proud of my performance in every portion for this reason.
If you could add or remove one phase of competition, which would it be and how would you adjust the scoring percentages?: I’m going to ignore the scoring calculation part and simply stress what I believe is the most important role of any titleholder. As the representative of an organization, the crowned queen must uphold all values of said organization in a positive way. She must behave exceptionally at all times while in public, and be aware of the reality that not everything said or done in private stays that way. She is to be herself in the truest form, promoting real beauty and self-love while living a life of service and gratitude. She will encourage everyone to improve in some way, as she tries her best every day to become a better person in all aspects. Ultimately, the end result of any competition should be a queen who best represents the organization, and this is best done through public service and speaking, as shown through interview.
How do you prepare for pageant? : I prepare for pageants by all of the usual stuff – teeth whitening, spray tan, maybe touching up my hair color, making sure I have my wardrobe together, transportation set and lodging available. In all honestly I don’t diet as much as I used to leading up to the big day. I maintain my physique through frequent and intense exercise. I don’t deprive myself; actually I cook and bake quite often. I just make sure that whatever I am putting into my body nourishes it. I have my walk down, my talent down (unless I’m changing it) and everything planned – except for my interview. It is important that I do not prep for that, aside from keeping up with the news daily. I like to walk into any social situation confident that I can communicate effectively and positively. While some say that the accuracy of your answer does not matter as much as the way you deliver it, I believe in a thorough and honest response to all questions. Confidence is key – but answer the question asked!
What do you plan to do with your experiences after you finish competing or age out of MAO?: Career-wise I intend to become a medical physician and perform research in cognitive neuroscience. Aspirations aside, I want to chase happiness and share it with others. I want to make a difference through medicine (I am an EMT by the way) and socially, because I believe that pageantry can be a powerful way to advocate for change.
Why should you be Miss America?: I aspire to be the best version of myself every day, and promote that which I value. If the judges of Miss America or any other system deem that I would best represent that organization, then I would gladly assume all responsibilities of the job. I would work to the best of my ability every day until and after the end of my reign.