Kickin' Keychains!!!

Shortly after I was crowned, I located on Facebook Miss United States 2007 Ashley Kazian and asked her for any tips she may have picked up during her year. WOW, talk about a blessing! Ashley emailed me back with an extensive list of invaluable advice that I never would have thought of on my own! From taking photos to writing thank-you notes, Ashley's tips have sat with me since that day... But there's one that just so happens to be my absolute favorite...

"Collect something from each state you go to."

I thought for a while about her suggestion, trying to decide on something simple but memorable I could collect from each state. And then, it hit me... KEYCHAINS! Small enough to carry with you but big enough to leave a lasting impression, I have scoured airport kiosks and shops over and over to find a state keychain with some special meaning to me. For example, when I visited Baltimore, MD I had the single best crabcake of my life! So before I boarded the plane back home, I picked up the keychain you see to the left :-)

To date, I have nine keychains representing the nine states I have traveled to and across as Miss United States (Nevada, Virginia, Alabama, Maryland, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia). And when I head to Michigan tomorrow, I'll be able to add another keychain to the list!
So my little collection got me thinking... This is one of the ways in which I will be able to remember one of the most incredible years of my life. How do you trap your memories? Maybe it's by taking lots of pictures, holding on to game tickets or special receipts, or maybe it's just by reliving those unforgettable moments in your mind as much as you can.

Our best days are still ahead of us, so no worries if you've left the past in the past. But take time to try to document your future in some way. Take it from me.. A crabby keychain is only $5.00 today, but tomorrow, when this is all over-- it's priceless.

Get Your Hot New Look with New Contours!!!

If you're like me, getting that extra body fat off has never been easy. Sometimes it feels as if you're never going to shed those extra few pounds between you and the body you've always wanted...

What if I told you I found the way to END you weight loss nightmares????

The answer is simple... NEW CONTOURS OF FREDERICKSBURG, VA! New Contours is a company that uses non-invasive procedures to literally melt  the fat away from your problem areas! Over the course of a few sessions, you'll unmistakably see results you could never achieve on your own. Between April and July of this year, I had four sessions with New Contours and lost (drumroll please)... a whopping ten pounds!!! I know, I couldn't believe it either! But in all seriousness, I attribute much of the body that won me the title of Miss United States to the people at New Contours!

Are you considering entering a local pageant, or are you a current contestant? In the highly competitive environment of pageantry, little things mean a lot. You need to pay attention to detail. Let New Contours help you get swimsuit ready. They specialize in sculpting areas that are resistant to diet and exercise such as inner and outer thighs, buttocks, abdomen, bra fat etc. Treatment effects are cumulative so the more treatments you schedule before the pageant the better your results can be. They recommend six weeks before your pageant date. Call 540-372-2049 or visit to schedule your free consultation. Family, friends and supporters are welcome too!

*Ask for Kendra Sheets when you contact New Contours, she's just lovely to work with :-) And make sure you tell her that I sent you!!!!!

Thanksgiving 2011: A Look Back

Wow... I can't believe it's almost been THREE MONTHS since I've been able to sit down and write another blog post! Between traveling as Miss United States, going to school full-time and working part-time, there just aren't enough hours in the day! But through it all, I can't help but be thankful for the blessings I have received and the opportunities given to me.
And that brings me to the topic of today's blog post: What were YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving? Was it the right things? A week before the holiday, I spoke at a banqet about what we should really be thankful for and how easy it is to forget to be thankful in today's society.

Here are the basic points: 1. We live in the most prosperous country in the world and we tend to forget how fortunate we are. We often become jealous of those around us who have more and feel the need to label ourselves as "not rich". But just across the ocean, there are millions of people without adequate food and shelter or that work for less than a dollar a day. This Thanksgiving, I hope you were thankful for all that you normally take for granted.

2. Be thankful for your blessings-- which could have been given to someone else. Perhaps you closed on a new home or finally got the car you wanted this year. Great for you! But don't give yourself all the credit. Whether or not you believe in a Higher Power, be thankful for the people around you who helped you attain your goals. Invite them to be a part of the blessings you received this year.

3. Don't forget about the blessings you received in years past. It's easy to get distracted by what just happened, and it's even easier to get distracted by what you WANT and haven't gotten yet. This Thanksgiving, I hope you remembered all of the happy moments in your life-- graduating from high school or college, getting married, the birth of your children, the acceptance of a new job, your first vacation. Those memorable times are just as important to your life today as they were all those years ago.

4. Finally, learn to spread the love! Being thankful this holiday season shouldn't just stop with the blessings you received... How about the blessings of others that you don't even know? Just being thankful that soldiers returned home from war or that someone in the world makes a new friend each day is such a selfless thought and makes us all better people for it. So this Thanksgiving, I hope you took time to be thankful that blessings didn't just stop with YOU- but continued to spread joy around the world.

I've been guilty before of not being thankful for the right things at Thanksgiving, but I can't change the past. All I can do is try to make things right in the future, and I certainly hope you will do the same. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!


Lisa Hicks is a blogger that writes about pageants from a bit of a different perspective. With a title like "More Than Just Your Average Pageant Blog", Lisa lives up to the hype by crushing many of the stereotypes associated with pageantry. Recently, she interviewed me for a special post entitled, "The Rose and the Thorn of Pageants," in which she gathered points of view from several actual titleholders. A true journalist, she quizzed me on some tough questions... and documented my honest and candid answers on tape! I could give my own introduction to this interview, but I felt that Lisa did it so much better than I ever could! Here's what she wrote about our convo together, and the actual interview is just below!!!!!

(P.S.: If you would like to read Lisa's entire post and check out her fascinating blog, click here.)

...I sat down with the current Miss United States, Ashley C. Smith. Smith a self-proclaimed tomboy entered the world of pageants at the age of 16, not because she wanted to prove she was the prettiest or most popular; but to make friends. She viewed her high school pageant as a way to meet new people and gain a new experience in life.  Little did she know that she would win the title on her second try but also that it would launch her into a 7-year pageant career that would assist her in paying for her college education.  In the beginning she didn’t think she would be good at competing in pageants but through it all she maintained a positive attitude and even when she didn’t win the title, used the experience to make her into the woman she is today. When asked what the “thorn” of competing in pageants was for her she said that it was the fact that she did not start younger.  Ashley views pageants as an opportunity to meet people and network not as a beauty or popularity contest.   Throughout her 7-year journey to a state and national title Ashley has continued to be an example to others by not giving up and not stopping when people doubted her.  As Miss United States Ashley will spend the year promoting her platform, “Breast Cancer- It’s not just Heredity”. Smith chose this platform because of her mother who is an 8-year survivor of breast cancer.  As you will see in the interview clip... Ashley has a passion for others and is beautiful both inside and out. She has used what she has learned in pageants too not only be better-rounded women but to show others the power of perseverance.

CBN's 700 Club: "Celebrity" Is In Your Mind

I am led into a large studio with an audience to the right and two sets in front of me. Seated in the first set is the lovely Kristi Watts, who is preparing to interview me. And in the other set, meditating n spiritual revelations from The Lord and gearing up for the next segment of the 700 Club… is Pat Robertson.

Was I really here? Was this really happening?

It was only last year that I received a phone call from Regent University, informing me that I was the recipient of a full scholarship toward my Masters Degree. Without it, I would have never been able to set foot on campus. But today, a short time later, God had elevated me to a position where I could personally thank the man responsible for the existence of my school and the opportunity for me to continue my education. It was nothing short of a dream come true.

After briefly speaking with Mr. Robertson, I was instructed that there were only about 30 seconds left before my interview! So I gathered myself and tried to remember the "read-ahead" information I had received to prepare for the day. And just as I began to feel comfortable, Kristi Watts glances at me and says, "By the way, I hope you got a good look at the 'read-ahead' info... Because we're NOT using any of it! We're going off the cuff!"

Oh boy.

But, I have to tell you, even with no preparation that was one of the most memorable interviews I have ever done! Never have I been able to share with others who Jesus Christ is to me and how He has encouraged me in life's darkest moments. My one wish as a titleholder was that God would allow me to be a vessel for Him, and that interview was a blatant opportunity for me to do so.  

I was able to speak not as a beauty queen, but as a timid high school student determined to make something of herself. I represented young people nationwide who never attained popularity, were the targets of ridicule, and often questioned God about whether or not they were good enough to be the best at anything. Yesterday, I was not a celebrity. I was the example that "celebrity" is in your mind.

And then, the interview was over. And I may never know how many people were able to watch or the impact it may have had on someone's life. But I believe my story gave someone that extra push to keep going, to keep trying. Why? Because there was a sense of peace that came over me, something like God placing His hand on my shoulder and saying, "Well done."

And that one moment of peace made the last seven years of perseverance all seem worthwhile.

For more information about my experience on CBN's "700 Club", click here:

I got a Face Value Feather!

I had the opportunity to visit Face Value Studio & Salon while in Charlottesville, VA during the last weekend in July. The salon was hosting a "Meet & Greet" for Miss Teen, Miss, and Ms. United States and we had a wonderful time.

However, me being the person that I am, I always notice the "strange and unusual". So one of the stylists at the salon (Melissa Riley) had feathers pinned in her hair! It was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. I inquired about it, and apparently it's one of their signature styles! Melissa noticed how fascinated I was with the feather, and decided to make me fabulous too! I was so thrilled about it... And the salon later wrote a little blurb on it. You can check out the story on Face Value's Website at, or read below!

Ashley Smith, Miss United States 2011 arrives at Face Value to see Lucinda and staff and can't wait to get a Face Value accent feather in her beautiful hair.

Ashley, then Miss Virginia, consulted with Lucinda prior to making the trip to Las Vegas to compete in the Miss United States Pageant. Lucinda's experience in Bridal and Special Event hair and makeup brings celebrity clients to the salon. Ashley stopped back in to say hello after returning from her phenomenal win in time to see the new Feather Hair Accents that just arrived. She just had to have one. Come by to get yours while supplies last.

Ashley was one of three Virginia contestants that Face Value worked with that won their division in this year’s United States Pageant. It was an historical near sweep for the Commonwealth of Virginia in this prestigious event.

Men of Faith 2nd Annual Youth Leadership Conference: "Promoting a Positive Self-Image"

My first official appearance as Miss United States was actually booked soon after I won my state title. I met a gentleman at an event I attended as Miss Virginia United States who thought I may be a good role model for the young women attending his upcoming conference. I happily agreed to take part, hoping my words would impact someone's life.

You can imagine his surprise when I called him days before the conference and said, "Well, there's good news and bad news. The bad news is... Miss Virginia United States cannot make it. But the good news is... MISS UNITED STATES CAN!!!" I could hear a huge sigh of relief through the phone as he gathered his thoughts and congratulated me on the win! And his next thought was even more special: The fact that a national titleholder is taking time to speak to a group of young girls is amazing.

To me, it didn't seem like a big deal. But to him... it was EVERYTHING.

I arrived at the conference, and met girls ranging from ages 10 to about 20. Most were shy and didn't seem too happy to be there. Just what I expected.

So, I decided to let THEM lead the discussion. What do they want to talk about? Boys? Shopping? Music? After a bit of that, they seemed to open up a bit. I partnered out conversation with stories from my high school experience, showing them that I never really saw myself as a beauty queen. It was just something I always wanted to be, and I believed hard enough in myself to see that come to fruition.

They perked up a little bit, realizing that I wasn't always a pageant girl. And more importantly- that THEY are in control of their future and success. We talked for about an hour before our session was over, and the girls walked quietly back to the congregational area to complete the day's events. But I saw just a couple more smiles than I did when we began... And that's enough for me. It's not about impacting everyone; just someone. And your task will be complete.

Journalism Student Wins Miss United States Title

I have received nothing but love from my school, Regent University. When I stepped foot on the campus, they welcomed me with open arms. When I won Miss Virginia United States, one of my classes had a party in my honor. And today, after winning Miss United States, Regent loves me no different. I was so thrilled to hear that not only did they write a story on me, but it's on the home page of the university's website!

Thank you to Rachel Judy for my stories as Miss Virginia United States and Miss United States. I appreciate all you have done! You can view the story online at, or you can read it below!

Regent University graduate student Ashley Smith has been named Miss United States 2011. Smith—previously named Miss Virginia United States in April—traveled to Las Vegas in July to compete in the national competition.
Smith is earning a master's degree in journalism program through Regent's School of Communication & the Arts.

Smith became involved with pageants five years ago when she decided to enter her high school's competition. Now, she's using her growing platform to promote breast cancer awareness and is especially passionate about raising awareness among younger women and those who don't have a family history of breast cancer.

"I knew that if I heard my name, my life was never going to be the same," Smith said of the final moments of the pageant before her name was announced. "The words that God had been whispering to me for a while now flashed before my eyes 'For your faithfulness, it's your time.'"

As Miss United States, Smith will travel extensively, sharing her platform with others "I am so excited about what I may be able to accomplish," she said. "For the last four years, it has been laid on my heart to impact legislation for breast cancer funding. Also, I would like to see more information about breast cancer awareness in books for health classes in grade schools nationwide. With a national title, I just may have enough authority to get the ball rolling on both of those goals!"

Smith plans to continue her journalism studies, even as she travels and fulfills her Miss United States obligations. "This is the most important (and last) year of my pageant career. I have a desire within myself to make the absolute most of it that I can," she explained. "Most importantly, I want to use this title to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

In addition to working for the U.S. Navy, Smith is currently the executive director of the Queen of P.I.N.K. Pageant which honors women who have either survived or are currently fighting breast cancer and have made significant contributions to breast cancer awareness advocacy in the community.

Chesapeake Native Wears Miss United States Crown

The Virginian-Pilot (commonly called "The Pilot") is a daily newspaper based in Norfolk, Virginia, and serving the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, southeastern Virginia, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I flipped open today's "Hampton Roads" section of the paper and saw a wonderful article on my crowning! I was so excited, I just had to post it here.

So, courtesy of the awesome writer Vicki Friedman and great photographger Hyunsoo Leo Kim, here it is!!! (You can also view the story on The Pilot's website at

We all know Miss America and Miss USA.

By the end of her reign, Ashley Smith wants to make sure we know Miss United States, too.

The 23-year-old Chesapeake native was crowned July 14 in Las Vegas.

"There's no talent competition in Miss United States, and Miss America has been around a lot longer, but other than that, there's not a lot of difference," said Smith, traveling with her crown and sash in tow. "Everyone has heard of Miss USA and Miss America. I want them to know Miss United States."

Those who have heard of Miss United States probably remember the 2000 movie "Miss Congeniality," when FBI agent Sandra Bullock went undercover as a "Miss United States" contestant.

Smith relates to the unpolished Bullock in the film.

"I didn't have the cool clothes; I didn't have the money for the cool clothes," she said. "I didn't have any friends. I wasn't a very outgoing person."

She decided she needed to change that, so Smith entered Oscar Smith High's pageant her junior year "to get people to notice I was alive," she said.

Smith finished first runner-up, and won the next year, setting off a seven-year career that included titles as Miss Virginia Beach, Miss Virginia Peanut, Miss Norfolk, Miss Chesapeake and Miss Hampton Roads.

But a state title eluded her.

"I had really gotten discouraged the last few years," Smith said. "I entered some pageants and didn't get anything - just, 'I did this pageant and all I got was this lousy T-shirt,' sort of thing. I decided this year I would focus on some other things."

Those included pursuing her master's degree in journalism at Regent University and working - Smith is an anchor on Channel 48 and works full time as a management analyst for the Navy. An accomplished keyboard artist with a passion for gospel, Smith is minister of music at First Baptist Church Gilmerton.

She figured to hang up her heels until a Facebook post piqued her interest in Miss Virginia United States. Considering herself "pageant rusty," she felt no pressure that night in Richmond in April.

"I wasn't expecting anything," she said. "I just expected to go and get my feet wet back in the system of pageantry."

Instead, the win in Richmond qualified her for Miss United States, a surreal week that started with her first-ever plane ride before pitting herself against 22 other delegates. (Some states do not have Miss United States pageants.)

Smith nailed what she calls the "15 seconds of pure fury" known as the fitness portion, where she wore a black and gold suit she picked up off the rack years ago. She didn't flub the on-stage question about the value of learning a foreign language, despite considering it "atypical."

The interview portion allowed her to elaborate on her platform: "Breast cancer: It's not just hereditary."

Smith's grandfather was diagnosed with the disease in 2002, and a year later, her mother, Marie, learned she had breast cancer. Through her own research, Smith discovered that a growing population without the traditional risk factors has been affected by the disease.

Marie Smith, 53, an eight-year survivor, takes particular pride in her daughter's efforts.

"For her to get out there and work so hard for that platform is huge," she said. "She tells people about self-breast exams and the importance of mammograms. It brings me to tears."

Smith was crowned in her favorite gown of all time: a rhinestone bodice that faded into a gray silk fabric. She doesn't remember the details of what happened after her name was announced, but she was thrilled to be part of a memorable night for Virginians.

Virginia placed finalists in all four divisions of the pageant. Ashley Greenfield was named Miss Teen United States; Laura Eilers won the Ms. United States crown; and Miss Jr. Teen Virginia, Shania Weaver, finished second runner-up.

Smith will receive more than $10,000 in cash and prizes for her national title win.

"I really wanted a national title because it gives me the opportunity to impact people nationwide," Smith said. "I feel a lot of joy in talking to kids who would never get to meet a Miss Anything. Doing as much as I can this year - that's what it's about for me."

Announcing Salon Abigail as an Official Sponsor of Miss United States 2011!!!

No more bad hair days for me!!! I am very excited to welcome Salon Abigail to the Miss United States family! Located in Virginia Beach, VA, their goal is to pamper and to bring out everyone's individual, natural beauty. The experience and talent at Salon Abigail are among the most qualified in the industry.

Rest, Relaxation and Complete Restoration in a good Christian environment is signature for Salon Abigail. The company is based on the belief that their customers' needs are of the utmost importance. The salon is a multi-cultural and committed to meeting the needs of their customers. As a result, a high percentage of their business is from repeat customers and referrals.
Salon Abigail welcomes the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best private and personal service in the industry.
For more information, please visit or contact Owner/Master Cosmetologist/Fusionist Elaine Paquette at (757) 435-0957!

Announcing Sassy Shoe Gallery as an Official Sponsor of Miss United States 2011!!!

Today, I am honored to announce that Sassy Shoe Gallery and I have entered into a new partnership! Under this agreement, the online shoe boutique will provide shoes during my year of service and I will promote SSG across the country.

Sassy Shoe Gallery specializes in “fashionable” footwear at affordable prices.  SSG believes that shoes are more than shoes; they are a source of self-esteem, confidence and empowerment for women.  When a woman looks fabulous in an awesome pair of shoes, her entire body language exudes confidence, and she is ready for work or play!

To ensure that their customers are ready for any occasion, they offer a wide variety of styles and designers. From that classy comfort shoe, to your 5-inch pumps, Sassy Shoe Gallery has you covered!  With a selection of wedges, heels, flats and stilettos, they offer over 40 styles and designers that include DIBA, BRONX, LUICHINY, CHARLES BY CHARLES DAVID, MISS ME, PIERRE DUMAS, and many and many more.

To augment the website experience and promote a sense of community among our customers, Sassy Shoe Gallery will host periodic “Shoe Shows” in cities throughout the USA.  The “Shoe Show” experience will provide women an opportunity to have an up-close and personal viewing of their products.  They also provide an opportunity for women to make on-site purchases and get a sneak peek at upcoming products.

In addition to providing an exceptional shoe boutique, Sassy Shoe Gallery is committed to empowering women and building the self-esteem of young ladies.  To support this mission, Sassy Shoe Gallery is committed to supporting non-profit organizations that support causes important to women and young ladies. In partnership with SSG, I will help support these important social causes throughout the year, while strengthening the efforts of active young women across the nation.

Fore more information, please visit,,, or!

Breast Cancer: It's Not Just Hereditary

I have received a few questions about my platform... what I intend to accomplish with it during my year of service and how I plan to continue with it after my year has ended. I also feel it is important as a titleholder to promote how a crown and sash can be used to make a dramatic difference nationwide. Therefore, today's post is dedicated to my platform, "Breast Cancer: It's Not Just Hereditary"- why I chose it, what I have achieved, and my efforts looking forward.
My life changed forever on March 2, 2003.  I transitioned from being a carefree teenager to becoming a caregiver for my mother, who was the first woman in our family diagnosed with breast cancer.  Terror, rage, sadness and above all, a feeling of complete and utter helplessness invaded me.  Why was this happening to Mom, of all people?  What had she ever done to deserve to be so sick and so frightened?  Yet, she refused to be conquered by her circumstance, and it was her determination that inspired me to champion this cause.  I discovered that out of the 250,000 newly-diagnosed American women with breast cancer each year, half of them had no identifiable risk factor.  Even more shocking was the knowledge that damaged cancer susceptibility genes can be inherited, and passed on, by men just as easily as women.  I began to look at breast cancer in a completely different way; what I once misperceived as a genetic ailment was now attacking victims at random.  Recognizing the need to disseminate this information, I vowed to educate others that breast cancer is an impartial killer.

For two years I joined forces with the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation to successfully lobby the Virginia General Assembly to increase funding for breast cancer research.  As a member of the foundation’s Hampton Roads Chapter, I communicated the importance of comprehensive cancer care with a focus on quality of life, as well as strategies for active community involvement and mobilization.  Currently, I serve as the Media Representative for Strut the Runway for Breast Cancer, Inc. as well as a Board member of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Chesapeake, holding the position of Webmaster. My efforts, however, have surpassed my assigned capacity as I have worked diligently with other Board members to provide a comfortable environment for those involved with Relay for Life and move steps closer towards a cancer cure.

In an effort to recognize and honor breast cancer survivor's unlimited faith, determination and perseverance, in October 2008 I organized the inaugural 'Queen of PINK' (Passionately Igniting the Need for Knowledge) Pageant showcasing each breast cancer survivor/fighter contestant's significant contributions to cancer awareness in her community.  All proceeds benefited the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation, and I'm proud that together we raised over $3,000 for this life-affirming organization.  I continually strive to develop outreach, awareness and fundraising initiatives with the dedication, commitment and support of corporate partners.  The partnerships with these companies provide an opportunity for individuals to join in the fight against breast cancer and help spread the message of early detection to millions of Americans.  

My devotion to increasing the quality of life through education and awareness is the link between my personal platform and Miss United States’ platform “No Phone Zone”. As Miss United States, I will utilize this unifying factor to promote both issues, serving in the name of public health and education.  

By aiding the nation, I will not only have the privilege to touch the lives of others, but will grow as a young woman.  By promoting my personal platform, I have altered my own lifestyle to reduce the risk of contracting breast cancer because I want to be the catalyst for a cure.  I'm dedicated to setting new standards for creative collaboration in the fight against breast cancer.  My involvement in service is a part of who I am, and will continue long after my year of service as Miss United States.  My mission is to be an activist—one person, one community, one state, one nation at a time— to try and solve the number one health concern of women.

Closing the Miss United States 2010 Chapter: Jessica Black

After reading her post on Facebook, I just had to add this to the site. Jessica welcomed me with open arms the moment I stepped in Vegas, and she is a shining example of how role models should be. Please read her touching closing speech below!
Words cannot describe the impact this past year has had on my life. Thomas Edison once said, if we all did the things we are capable of, we would truly astound ourselves with amazement!

That really describes my year as Miss United States. I would have never dreamed I’d be given the opportunity to travel the world, meet so many incredible people and work with so many outstanding charities. After 12 months, 280 plus appearances and achieving my goal of raising 500k for over 25 charities, I now know exactly what I am capable of!

There so many people I need to thank, I’m blessed to have the most amazing network of support:
Thank you to all if my friends at Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for allowing me to support such amazing organizations.

I’m honored and proud to dedicate my year as Miss United States to Miss Brigette Barron, who lost her battle with leukemia this year at the age of 17. Brigette will always be my inspiration for pushing forward to make others live better!

My journey started as Miss Georgia with my state director Mr. Steven Gambrell. Steven you are my heart and the best director I have ever had, like our favorite movie dirty dancing... I had the time of my life- I owe it all to you! And to Erin Grizzle who passed this amazing opportunity to me, you will always be one of the most gracious and beautiful women I know! Love you both!

Big Thanks to Mr. Joel Harlow of Jerusalem House & AV200 -Thank you for always treating me like a queen and allowing me to become apart of some of the most amazing charities in the US!

Cynthia Schroeder of Spring Street, in Charlottesville VA -you where my number one sponsor all year. Thank you so much for the amazing wardrobe and memories; you will always be one of my dearest friends.

Huge thanks to Ms. Kathryn Humphrey, for being my “Oprah” of hair color; you are not only my hair stylist, but also one of my best friends. I will always be grateful for everything that you have done for me.

Forever grateful to my Body Design team in Vinings,GA. Thank you Corey Ritter, Terry Elswick and Noelle Bogdala for helping me stay in-shape for one of the most important years of my life!
Body Design is the BEST!

To my favorite team at "Mint32 Dentistry" Dr. Darrell Morton - Thank you for giving me a smile that makes me feel like a million dollars, your support this year was amazing, I'll be forever grateful!
(Love you Jennifer!)

Dr. Paul Yurfest at West Paces Ferry Orthodonist, Thank you for making the impossible - possible! Your the best! Thank you Kenny for all of the extra help and attention.

Thank you to President David Zimmerman and the Internationl/Southern Women's Show team (Especially Sarah Johnston) for allowing me to travel the United States this year as one of the faces for The Women’s Show.

My year as Miss United States was really impacted by the NTDTV team. A huge Thank you to NTDTV and The Shen Yun Performing Arts Show for my trip into Chinese culture. Thank you Jing Chen, Serene Lee & Mr. Frank Tian Xie for your amazing hospitality and support!

Mr. Steve Kilby of Atlanta 200, thank you for making me the “Go To” MC and for always supporting me in my dreams. Without your help my filming with MTV would never be possible.

To my MTV Crew - Daniel Lagrua, Juila Baron, Christalyn Wright & Rebecca Rasmussen thank you for such an amazing experience. Our episode airs Tomorrow at 4pm EST on MTV and I’m so excited to see our hard work!

Big Thanks to Atlanta organizations that without them, my year would no have been so successful:
Phil Minnes & Michael Bryant of Philip Michael Media
Amanda Brown of Artisit Trifecta
Greta Jaeger of Coaching Your Dreams
Pam Schloemer of Schloemer Business Services
Scott Rogers & The Atlanta Lions Club
Renee Knorr of 19th Hole Magazine 
Ericka Mitchell of Miss Ga Latina Board
–Each of you went above and beyond to help make my year as Miss United States amazing. I could never say enough thank you’s for your support.

* Thank you to Candace Howard and The Pageant Planet for your support!
* Ms. Ethel Smawley of The Encounter and Ms. Stephanie Williams for the most amazing Experience all year! I love you both, your amazing!

Other Sponsor Thanks:
Miguel Betancout, Photography (Amazing photo shoot)
BlacktheSalon in Royal Oak Michigan
Ms. Sigal Levine- hair and makeup stylist
Mr. Jeffery Banks of Jewelry TV
Ms. Shirley Fraser of Bravura
Lifetime Television Network – The Balancing Act Crew
Mr. Eric Evans Designer of Sache
Ms. Yolanda Owens of iWi skin care
Ms. Cibele Ziobrowski of Overboard Bikinis

A very special thank you to The City of Atlanta. I'm very proud to now call Atlanta my home. Also the city of Swainsboro, GA my childhood hometown and Mr. Al Lawson, I’ve received hundreds of care packages, letters and phone calls from both cities. The support has been amazing this year!

To my Miss United States Family I'll never forget all the memories we shared. Emily Lopez, Tristan Topps and Candice Cruz I couldn't have asked for better young women to travel the country with and make part of my family! You’ll forever be my sisters no matter where our paths may lead!
To Ms. Lynda Samuels, I had the ide of my life, thank you for directing me on my journey!

To Rachael Juillerat and Jarred - I would never thought possible to meet two people more fun and full of life! You both are so amazing to me and I'm truly blessed to call you my family!

My Favorite Team, Mr. Joe Pier & Ernesto Ortiz Castro - Thank you for capturing the most beautiful photos of one of the most important years of my life, I love you both for your support and time!

To Chris Wilmer (Virginia queens) without you I would have never been able to take the Miss United States system to the next level.  I can never thank you enough for helping me make this year a once in a lifetime experience!

To my family Mom, Dad, Jennifer, Victoria and Reece. I'm truly blessed to have you in my life to help me believe the sky’s the limit. Mom -you'll always be my best friend! I love you all for taking this journey with me.

To my OTHER mother, Randall Smith of RKS Couture - Thanks for making me always look like a true celebrity in the spotlight. You will forever be my “Black Momma” and the person who never fears risk!

To Raydale Jones of Plush Couture, You add the “Bling” that makes every girl feel like a million dollars. You have the most amazing eye for design and you are very talented. Thank you for all you have done for me over the past few years!

To one of the best friends a girl could ask for – Ms. Amber Ferrell. You have been there for me long before I was ever a queen, words cannot describe how much I love you. Thank you for everything!

Ms. Kimberly Vaughn- Thank you for making sure I looked like a million dollars in Las Vegas. You are a true role model to young women everywhere. I can never thank you enough for helping me end my year with a bang!

Thank you to Trudy Garnette Davies, Valarie Bowens, Carrie Williams, Elina Brager, Asif Jessani, Troy Von Otnott, Tammy Johns & Phillip Webb for all of your love and support!

As Miss United States 2010 it's been a honor to embody the spirit of the Miss United States system and become a true ambassador for young women all across the united states. To the lucky young woman I crowned this past weekend, Miss Ashley Smith - get ready for the time of your life, but always remember my quote from Edison, “know what your capable of” and your year will also be nothing short of astonishing!

Thank you to all mentioned & others,
Miss United States 2010
Jessica Black

Some People Wait a Lifetime...

Wow, I still cannot believe that I am one of the newest members of the United States family! I took the advice of the organization's motto, "Dare to Dream... Take the Journey" and followed my heart to a place I never imagined in my wildest dreams. Representing my home state of Virginia, I journeyed to beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada to vie for the national title on July 13 & 14, 2011. Beautiful, incredibly accomplished women nationwide were there but I was so blessed and humbled to be selected by a panel of 10 judges to be your new Miss United States 2011!

I will never forget the moment waiting for the winner to be announced. I closed my eyes and steadied my heart, mentally preparing for the possibility of that moment to be mine. Then, I heard those piercing words, "And your new Miss United States is Miss..... Virginia, Ashley Smith!" I immediately became overwhelmed with such joy as I watched my lifelong dream become a reality. My eyes welled with tears as confetti colored the stage like fireworks. I was so gracious to have been given the opportunity to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia... Initially, I couldn't even fathom serving the entire nation. But then, I realized my life was going to change in a dramatic way-- and it has continued to evolve every moment since crowning. This year will be nothing short of astonishing.

I am looking forward to promoting the Miss United States Organization and my personal platform, "Breast Cancer: It's Not Just Hereditary" across the country. As Miss United States I will also work for Oprah Winfrey on her "No Phone Zone" campaign, which advocates no texting/calling while driving.

Partnering with celebrities, participating in television interviews, raising money for charities... all of these opportunities are in my near future. But they all fade in comparison to the opportunity to touch the life of one person for the better. Sometimes being Miss United States means as much being something to everyone as it means being everything to someone.

If I can be of service at your next event, please do not hesitate to contact me at If I'm available, I'll be there!

See you on the journey...

Ashley Smith
Miss United States 2011