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Kira Kazantsev (born July 20, 1991) is an American beauty pageant titleholder who won Miss America 2015 on September 14, 2014. She is the third consecutive Miss America winner from New York and had won the title of Miss New York on May 24, 2014 while serving as Miss City of New York.

Kira Kazantsev
Kira Kazantsev 2 March 2015.jpg
Kazantsev in March 2015
Born (1991-07-20) July 20, 1991 (age 28)
Alma materHofstra University
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
TitleMiss City of New York 2014
Miss New York 2014
Miss America 2015
TermSeptember 14, 2014 – September 13, 2015
PredecessorNina Davuluri
SuccessorBetty Cantrell
Partner(s)Andrew Dixon
Websitekirakazantsev.com

Contents

Early life and educationEdit

Kazantsev was born on July 20, 1991 in San Francisco, California, to Russian immigrants who left Moscow in 1990 for the United States, making her a first-generation American.[1][2][3] Her father, George, is a general surgeon and her mother, Julia (née Afrikian), is a real-estate broker.[4][5] She has one brother named Boris, who is eight years younger.[5] Kazantsev is trilingual, being fluent in English, Russian, and Spanish.[6]

She graduated from Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, California and served as the student body president in 2009.[7] She attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York with a triple major in political science, global studies, and geography.[8] During junior year at Hofstra University, she studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain.[5] After graduating from Hofstra, Kazantsev applied to numerous law schools and was accepted to Notre Dame Law School and Fordham Law School.[9] She stated in interviews, after being named Miss America 2015, her desire to specialize in international law upon receiving her law degree.[10]

In the summer of 2017, Kazantsev attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business completing the Stanford Ignite entrepreneurship program, which is a "suite of certificate programs that teaches innovators to formulate, develop, and commercialize their ideas."[11][12]

PageantryEdit

Early pageantryEdit

At age 13, she was named Miss California Preteen, and at age 16, she served as Miss California Jr.[7][9]

Miss New York 2013Edit

Kazantsev competed in the Miss New York 2013 pageant as Miss Cosmopolitan. She placed in the Top 10.[6]

Miss New York 2014Edit

The following year, Kazantsev competed in the Miss New York 2014 pageant as Miss City of New York. She won the title of Miss New York 2014 and was crowned by Miss New York 2013 Amanda Mason.[6][13]

Miss America 2015Edit

 
Kazantsev reads to children living at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a US military installation in Maryland.

Kazantsev, representing New York, was one of the 52 delegates competing in the Miss America 2015 pageant held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in September 2014.[6] Her platform was "Love Shouldn't Hurt": Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence; Kazantsev stated that her personal experience with domestic violence was the inspiration for choosing this platform.[5][6][9]

For her talent she sang "Happy" by Pharrell Williams as she used a red plastic cup as a percussion, in a manner that was similar to Anna Kendrick's character in the movie Pitch Perfect and Kendrick's "Cups" music video.[14][15]

During the on-stage question portion of the contest, she was asked what issue women in the senate need to put on the forefront. Kazantsev stated that she felt military sexual assault needed attention and resources of women in congress.[15] She noted that she was happy that female politicians were already doing so, and proud to be a constituent of one of these women (Senator Kirsten Gillibrand).[16]

She was crowned by outgoing Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri, beating out first runner-up, Miss Virginia 2014, Courtney Garrett. She was the third consecutive Miss New York to earn the title of Miss America.[15][17] Her win made New York the first state to have a Miss America winner three years in a row.[18] Apart from the title, Kira won a $50,000 scholarship provided in part by Joseph Ribkoff Inc. and the Miss America Organization to continue her education, which she planned to use towards law school.

Hazing controversyEdit

In September 2014, relying on unnamed sources, Jezebel published a piece stating that, while at Hofstra University, Kazantsev was expelled from the Alpha Phi sorority for hazing.[19] On Good Morning America, Kazantsev admitted her involvement in activities that fit the "broad definition of hazing," but denied the allegations of abuse, describing the hazing at Alpha Phi as "menial tasks."[20][21][22] In her personal blog, Kazantsev wrote that not attending national Alpha Phi's judiciary hearing of her case was the official reason for the termination.[23][24]

Miss America roleEdit

As Miss America, Kazantsev served as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.[25] Additionally, to further promote her platform of "Love Shouldn't Hurt", Kazantsev teamed up with Safe Horizon to launch the #PutTheNailinIt campaign with the aim to "end domestic violence for good."[26] The campaign aims to spread awareness of domestic violence by painting your ring fingernail purple.[27]

On November 23, 2014, Kazantsev appeared as a presenter at the 42nd Annual American Music Awards in Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, in Los Angeles, California.[28] On December 15, 2014, she appeared as a presenter at the American Country Countdown Awards in Nashville, Tennessee.[29] She also presented at the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 19, 2015, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.[30] On May 17, 2015, she appeared as a presenter with Pete Wentz at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.[31]

Kazantsev was also the first Miss America in 35 years to travel with the United Service Organizations (USO) and visit troops abroad.[32][33]

CareerEdit

She has had summer internships at a political consultancy in Washington, D.C., served as a volunteer for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's 2012 re-election campaign, waited tables, interned at a local affiliate of Planned Parenthood, launched a food blog and served as a hostess.[5]

Kazantsev currently serves as the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals' Director of Digital Channels and Community Engagement.[11][34]

In November 2017 Kazantsev launched a podcast called "What We Do," in which every week she talks with women about, "the tough issues, the challenges we’ve faced, the best moments, the funny moments and the not so great moments."[33]

Personal lifeEdit

On September 4, 2018, Kazantsev announced her engagement to long-time boyfriend and Marine, Andrew Dixon.[35]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Elena Subbotina, Rossiyskaya Gazeta (September 15, 2014). "Miss America title goes to Russian immigrants' daughter". Russia Beyond The Headlines. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Corriston, Michele (September 15, 2014). "5 Things to Know About the New Miss America, Kira Kazantsev". People. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
  3. ^ Kuperinsky, Amy (September 15, 2014). "Miss America 2015: Newly crowned Kira Kazantsev talks 'coloring outside the lines'". New Jersey On-Line. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  4. ^ "California Birth Index: Kira Kazantsev". State of California. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e Fleming, Kirsten and Dana Schuster (September 15, 2014). "How Kira Kazantsev went from Cronut blogger to Miss America". New York Post. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Kira Kazantsev: Miss New York 2014". Miss New York Scholarship Organization. Archived from the original on September 15, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Photos: Former Walnut Creek resident Kira Kazantsev is 2015 Miss America (see photo journal)". San Jose Mercury News. September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  8. ^ Gilfillian, Trudi (July 8, 2014). "Miss New York Kira Kazantsev". Press of Atlantic City. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Settembre, Jeannette (September 15, 2014). "Here are 10 things you need to know about Miss America Kira Kazantsev: She's brainy! She's a beauty! And she plays a mean plastic cup! Meet the Manhattanite who is now Miss America". Daily News. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "Kira Kazantsev wins the Title of Miss America 2015". news.biharprabha.com. September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Kira Kazantsev". LinkedIn.
  12. ^ "Stanford Ignite". Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  13. ^ Benanti, Carol Ann (September 15, 2014). "Miss New York: Kira Kazantsev takes the top crown at Staten Island's St. George Theatre". Staten Island Advance. Staten Island. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  14. ^ Parry, Wayne (September 14, 2014). "Miss New York Kira Kazantsev Crowned Miss America 2015". WABC-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "A threepeat: Miss New York Kira Kazantsev crowned Miss America". CNN. September 15, 2014. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  16. ^ "Kira's On-Stage Question". The PageantFile. September 16, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  17. ^ Friedman, Molly (September 15, 2014). "The secrets behind New York's stunning three Miss America wins in a row". New York Daily News.
  18. ^ Schmitz, Ashleigh (September 15, 2014). "Miss America 2015: 5 Things to Know About Kira Kazantsev". Parade. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  19. ^ Ryan, Erin Gloria (September 22, 2014). "Miss America Was Kicked Out of Her Sorority for Abusive Hazing". Jezebel.com.
  20. ^ "Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev Denies Hazing Allegations". Good Morning America. September 23, 2014.
  21. ^ Ward, Michelle (September 23, 2014). "Miss America Kira Kazantsev Responds to Sorority Hazing Allegations". People. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  22. ^ Lovece, Frank (September 23, 2014). "Miss America Kira Kazantsev admits she was kicked out of Hofstra sorority, denies hazing". Newsday. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  23. ^ Lauren Steussy (September 23, 2014). "Miss America Kira Kazantsev faces allegations of hazing". SILive.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  24. ^ Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev (September 23, 2014). "The Reality of Miss America". kirakazantsev.com. Archived from the original on September 25, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  25. ^ "Farewell to Miss America Kira Kazantsev". Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. September 10, 2015.
  26. ^ "Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev Talks About #PutTheNailinIt on Hallmark Channel's Home & Family". Safe Horizon. May 20, 2015.
  27. ^ "One Small Statement Makes a Big Difference". #PutTheNailinIt.
  28. ^ Moraski, Lauren (November 21, 2014). "American Music Awards 2014 top performers and nominees". CBS News.
  29. ^ Finan, Eileen (December 4, 2014). "Presenters Announced for American Country Countdown Awards". People.com.
  30. ^ "Country Music's Party of the Year Announces All-Star Lineup of Presenters: More than 20 presenters announced for the 50th ACM Awards". CBS. April 16, 2015.
  31. ^ "Kira Kazantsev and Pete Wentz Presents Top Touring Artist - BBMA 2015". Billboard Music Awards. March 20, 2018.
  32. ^ Kazantsev, Kira (June 6, 2018). "'After #MeToo, Miss America Had to Change': A Former Winner on Saying Goodbye to the Swimsuit Competition". TIME.
  33. ^ a b "What We Do". What We Do.
  34. ^ Golden, Brian (September 19, 2017). "CMN Hospitals Celebrates Miss America 2018". Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
  35. ^ "Kira Kazantsev". Kira Kazantsev - Instagram. September 4, 2018.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Nina Davuluri
Miss America
2015
Succeeded by
Betty Cantrell
Preceded by
Amanda Mason
Miss New York
2014
Succeeded by
Jillian Tapper