Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

October 17, 2010

Marshall student reaches national pageant finals

HUNTINGTON — A theater major at Marshall will travel to New Orleans next year representing West Virginia in a national pageant.

 Rachel Stefursky, a theater major from Charleston, first competed in the Planet Beach Internationals series in a local contest in August. Stefursky and two others were chosen as winners and split a prize of $1000. From there they went on to compete in the regionals pageant in Canton, Ohio.

 In Ohio, Stefursky competed against 35 young women from eight different states. Fifty percent of the competition was based on personality and fifty percent was based on dress and swimwear. Each woman was interviewed, asked to express personal experiences, and to “sell” a product that was given to them on the spot.  Stefursky said class, intellect, and personality were all part of the requirements of the competition. The first four finishers were all from West Virginia and will move on to the finals in January.

 “I’m so proud of the four of us for representing West Virginia in a positive light and myself for even participating in the event itself,” Stefursky said. “I thought how wonderful was it that I was involved in competing in an organization that was for sending a positive message to young women. The director was very inspirational in explaining that we needed to represent females by showing forth our strong intellectual and personable selves.”  Stefursky said even though she would be acting as a positive role model, the whole pageant experience was different for her.

 “I’m used to being judged on a talent, not on a look that someone may just not like,” Stefursky said. “I just went in accepting the fact that other people’s opinions of me or my physical appearance do not define who I am.”

 She added she went into the competition in hopes of winning some money but never thought she would place.

 “I have struggled with insecurities about my body and self esteem, but I have developed confidence within myself since this winning,” Stefursky said.

 Stefursky and the three other West Virginia finalists will compete for $150,000 cash and a modeling contract this coming January.

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