Let Us Introduce You: Katie Kearney

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Junior Katie Kearney, a communication major, appears to be the typical Saint Louis University student. As of last weekend, however, the St. Louis native became royalty. Kearney was crowned Miss Missouri 2012 and will represent Missouri at the Miss USA pageant.

Kristen Miano/Associate News Editor

Kearney said that she is not the typical “pageant wave” type, however.

“I ugly-cried,” Kearney said. “I thought that if it came down to it, I would cry with some sort of grace, but no.”

Kearney said the crowning was unexpected.

“I truly didn’t expect it, but when they put the crown on my head, I was just overcome with gratitude and appreciation,” Kearney said.

Kearney started her pageant career when she was 14 years old. As both a model and a cheerleader, said she found pageantry interesting.

“I feel that the work ethic and determination needed to compete in a pageant will affect how I live my life from now on,” Kearney said. “A healthy lifestyle, communicating with people and putting others before yourself is what I have acquired.”

While preparing for the pageant, Kearney focused on improving her interview skills and creating a platform on animal welfare, spending much of her time in community outreach programs for stray and rescue services. Kearney said she feels part of her responsibility is to make people aware of animal cruelty and that the first step in raising awareness requires education.

“Educating children would be a great first step,” Kearney said. “To make this problem known to children early could help them make decisions as adults.”

Kearney has taken many steps to become the royalty she is today, but she said that she is fully aware of how blessed she is with her support system. She said her win is a collage of love and blessings sent from her friends and family, especially her father.

“I see my dad’s beliefs as my core,” Kearney said. “If I put my mind to something, I can accomplish anything. He’s been so supportive during this entire process.”

Kearney’s father, Timothy Edward Kearney,  was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round in 1972. Playing mostly for the St. Louis Cardinals for roughly 10 seasons, Kearney said that her father has had his share of hard work and “gut check.”

“He knows what it is like to fight for your dreams. For him, me winning the pageant wasn’t anything short of a fulfilled dream. He gives me the drive to do things that might be scary, but will affect my growth,” Kearney said.

Her determination will be further tested with the duties and responsibilities that her title requires. Kearney said she invites challenges openly.

“This will affect my entire life,” Kearney said.

Kearney said that she will defer next semester from the University to fulfill the duties of her title. Her next pageant will be this June in Las Vegas, competing for  Miss USA.

“I’m very excited about going to Vegas to compete for Miss USA, but am truly content with just having the opportunity to be invited,” Kearney said. “I am just going to have fun, be myself and enjoy the moment.”

Apart form her accomplishments thus far, Kearney said she has other aspirations in mind for her future.

“I like broadcasting,” Kearney said. “I feel that I would enjoy working in a television station. As Miss Missouri there are many skills that intertwine with being a good communicator and reporter.”

Whether she is Miss Missouri, Miss USA or on Good Morning America, Kearney is sure to stay true to her core and represent the Show-Me State the only way a queen could.