Since winning the Miss America pageant, Kira Kazantsev has been on the road not denying getting kicked out of her sorority for hazing and visiting hospitals, Disney World, and Canada. She stopped by USA Today for an interview with Ann Oldenburg, where she chatted about Kim Kardashian's Paper cover (because apparently we're not done trying to break the clearly indestructible internet), and why the bikini portion was one of her favorite parts of the Miss America pageant.
Oldenburg jumped right in, asking Kazanstev if it was weird being up on stage in a bikini being judged. Kazanstev responded:
No. For me it's absolutely not. I would say that's almost one of my favorite parts of the competition because I worked so hard for my body and to maintain a great lifestyle and to have that fitness aspect of my life because that's not something that's easy to do especially in New York City on a budget. I was a waitress in New York City and I was still having to maintain a great body and a great lifestyle. And that was my moment to be empowered and say "Look how hard I worked, and I'm healthy and I'm really proud of what I did."
Obviously one of the big things holding the Miss America pageant back is the idea that a woman should have to be assigned a numerical value (20% of her final score), literally affecting her worth, based on how good her body looks in a swimsuit particularly because it always reinforces incredibly narrow standards as to what constitutes a "bikini body." Of course Kazanstev has every right to feel empowered and be proud of her body. She should be! The problem is that there is one type of body people can be proud of: a pageant contestant's body.
Technically, the swimsuit portion of the Miss America competition is called "Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit." So if they really wanted to test fitness, they'd make those contestants run a mile and a half and maybe have their blood pressure and cholesterol levels taken. On stage. WAIT I HAVE AN IDEA. Let's make Miss America pageant contestants run the Ninja Warrior course for the fitness portion. Hell, they can wear whatever they want.
Aside from that, Kazantsev had some things to say about domestic violence, her Miss America platform, particularly in light of the Ray Rice debacle:
It's important for people to realize if these people weren't celebrities no one would have paid attention and they would have been added to millions of cases each year that are disregarded. So if there's one positive thing that will come from this it's that people are paying attention. Domestic violence is no longer something that can't be brushed under the rug. We need to make it everyone's business. It's not just a women's issue, it's a humanitarian issue."
She offered to help the NFL. "There's always more that can be done. I'd love to work with the NFL about creating programs or furthering their efforts."
Image via USA Today.