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Tennessee Wesleyan student wins Miss Tennessee
At 5 months old Tennessee Wesleyan Junior Ashley Ingram competed in her first pageant. Twenty years later she’s the reigning Miss Tennessee in the Miss United States pageant.
“Competing in pageants has been such a wonderful experience,” said Ingram, a 20-year-old business administration major who won the 2012 Miss Tennessee title after taking an 11-year break from pageants. “I came back to pageants after taking a hiatus from the age of 7 to 18 because I saw the opportunities that competing in pageants could provide. I’ve met some amazing people.”
Ingram sees an overlap between the skills she learns in competing in pageants and the skills she needs going into her career field.
“Pageants have been a great outlet for me to work on my public speaking,” said Ingram, a native of Sweetwater, Tenn. “I’m pursuing a degree with an emphasis in healthcare management. The ability to communicate with confidence is a skill that pageantry helped me develop.”
After only two years back on the pageant circuit, Ingram’s Miss Tennessee win has reassured her that returning to the stage was the right decision.
“College is my first priority,” said Ingram. “What I’m doing at Tennessee Wesleyan is my main focus. My role as Miss Tennessee and my involvement in pageants comes second to my education but it’s still a role that I take very seriously. I want to be a role model to young women in the south.”
Ingram’s platform during the Miss Tennessee pageant was anti-bullying, an issue that she feels is very close to her heart because of her experience in high school.
“I was definitely bullied,” said Ingram, who has an eight-year-old sister and a three-year-old brother that she feels protective over. “I want to empower the new generation of young students. They need to be able to recognize right from wrong, how to treat one another with respect.”
Although Ingram would like to continue sharing her anti-bulling message with others, her time as Miss Tennessee could be cut short if she wins Miss United States at the July 8th pageant in Washington D.C.
“It would be the shortest Miss Tennessee reign ever,” said Ingram, who won the title in May after the pageant was pushed back a couple of months due to scheduling conflicts. “No matter what happens at Miss United States, I am so grateful for Miss Tennessee and all of the positive influences pageants have had on my life.”
For more information on Ingram and her preparation for Miss United States, like her “Miss Tennessee United States 2012, Ashley Ingram” Facebook page or follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MissTN_US. Miss United States will take place in Washington D.C. July 3 through 8. It will be televised on Heritage TV network.