For one Kenai Peninsula resident, life is more than a beauty pageant.
On March 14, Krystal Autrey from Sterling, will participate in the 2015 Mrs. Alaska United States pageant held at Dimond High School in Anchorage. There, she will go up against 19 other married women from across Alaska for a chance to compete at the national competition.
“I’m super excited,” Autrey said. “I’ve always been interested in stuff like this.”
Autrey participated in her first pageant shortly after her daughter was born two years ago. Seven months ago Autrey welcomed a son, and she is now ready to give beauty pageants another shot.
Autrey said the competition process includes an interview with a judge, and swimsuit and evening gown modeling displays. While the event showcases beauty, Autrey says the pageant is more than just about looks.
“Our pageant is a pageant with a purpose,” she said. “We’re not going up there just to look pretty and to see show what we can look like in a dress.”
To prove that it’s more than looks, Autrey is tying to help local teenagers be prepared for the job market as part of her pageant platform.
“I want to do job conventions,” she said. “I want to have classes with the high schools – kids that are getting ready to graduate. I want to have classes with them about how to attend an interview and how to work with the community.”
While helping kids get jobs would be special for Autrey, so would winning the competition.
“To me, [winning] would be more than a dream come true,” Autrey said. “It’s something that I’ve wanted for a really long time. Being Mrs. Alaska, you get to be a role model for so many people, and you get to inspire your community.”
While Autrey is excited about the event, it is just one of her many pursuits. She is actively trying to organize volunteers to help at local senior centers and senior homes on the peninsula.
“I’m trying to get the community involved with all of our senior homes,” she said.
Autrey said she spent a lot of time in senior centers visiting her great-grandparents. It was from her time there that she knew she wanted to volunteer.
“A lot of the people in there don’t have families, or their families don’t come and see them often,” she said. “To see them smiling and laughing after I sit down and talk with them, even for just 10 minutes, that really means a lot.”
Reach Ian Foley at Ian.firstname.lastname@example.org