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Miss America 2008 to Co-Host Miss VA Pageant

2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund
2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund

The Roanoke Performing Arts Theater (RPAT) and Hotel Roanoke are abuzz for the next few days as the statewide Miss Virginia Scholarship pageant, and two other competitions for young women come to town. The Miss Virginia finals takes place Saturday night at 8:00 pm at RPAT after two days of preliminary competitions and interviews.  Local television picks up coverage Saturday at 9:00 pm.

Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund, will co-host the televised portion of Saturday night’s final.

“Very few state pageants are even on TV anymore – only five or six.…and we have last year’s Miss America with us,” said Mark Schreier, the Miss Virginia Marketing & Production Director. “She’s adorable, like Kelly Ripa on stage. The crowd and contestants will love her.”

Haglund notes that the Miss Virginia winner will only have six months in that role before they head to Las Vegas for the Miss America pageant.

“The best preparation you can do is doing your job,” said Haglund, “rather than get caught up in what swimsuit to wear, what evening gown would be best.”

“Speaking every chance you can to the public, having as many conversations as you can about who you are…your future, your goals,” is more important, she added. Putting together a marketing plan for the platform each contestant must have is also a key.

Haglund said while sitting in the Hotel Roanoke Palm Court earlier this week that she was not a serial pageant competitor growing up, and in fact went straight from her first local title to Miss Michigan and then Miss America in the same year.  At the Miss America finals she was “totally shocked at each stage,” as she got closer to being chosen.

After studying musical theater in college, Haglund is now pursuing a performing career in California and is hoping for a movie role this fall. She has also started a non-profit, the Kirsten Haglund Foundation for Eating Disorders, which provides assistance to families and individuals seeking treatment for conditions like anorexia. She warns young girls against starving themselves in order to enter a pageant.

“I’ve been through that struggle,” said Haglund, who has lobbied the U.S. Congress on eating disorder issues. Being fit and toned but “not looking like a walking eating disorder,” should be a young woman’s dream, said Haglund. The experience she gained at a young age with her Miss America platform on eating disorders will help with her foundation.

This is Haglund’s first trip to Roanoke and she hopes to take in some of the sights, like the Taubman Museum, before she leaves town.  “It’s really cute…historic. And it’s warm,” said Haglund of her first trip to Roanoke.

The next few days can be intense, said Haglund, who avoided comparing herself to others while competing. It was all about doing her best and letting the chips fall where they may.

“Basically who wins is the last one standing. You have to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally,” she said.

Haglund often speaks to young girls and offers a simple bit of advice: “don’t let it be your entire identity…be a whole complete person outside of pageantry.”

Weekend pageant schedule: Sat., June 27th: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Miss Virginia Teen & Preteen Final Competition; 8:00 pm, Miss Virginia finals, all at Roanoke Performing Arts Theater.

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