2015 Miss America Pageant - New York wins!

2015 Miss America Pageant - New York wins!


 

Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, wins the crown! Third Miss New York in three years!

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev contestant headshot
Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev
Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, is the new Miss America 2015! She is the third back-to-back Miss New York to win the crown, a first in miss America history. A huge accomplishment for the New York program! The 22-year-old resident of Manhattan bested 51 other contestants tow in a $50,000 scholarship and the coveted title for a year.

The 94th Miss America Pageant was held on Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm EST via ABC live from Atlantic City, New Jersey.

During the talent competition Kira sat on the floor cross legged and sang the Pharrell Williams tune "Happy" while clapping a red plastic Solo cup, a scene inspired by the movie "Pitch Perfect". The unusual performance generated considerable viral activity on social media, including the tweet "The new Miss America is a "Happy" clapper!" The act was even satired in traditional media, with the New York Daily News headline: "Miss New York's Kira Kazantsev seals her title by pounding #solocup while singing Pharrell Williams' 'Happy.'"

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev in talent competition performing
Kira Kazantsev in talent competition performing "Happy"
The new titleholder will embark on a national speaking tour which will promote her Miss America platform, "Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence". The platform is based upon Kira's "own personal struggle with an abusive relationship." Now, considering herself "stronger than ever", she says she "is determined to educate others on the issue of domestic violence because love should not hurt." Additionally, the new Miss America wants to "motivate women to take control and make sure no one else defines their lives."

During her year of service as Miss America, she wants to partner with corporations that sponsor domestic violence initiatives in hopes of positively impacting the lives of women everywhere.

Additionally, Kira will act as the official National Goodwill Ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals, and the national platform partner of the Miss America Organization.

During the top five final questions, when Kira was asked the question "There are a record 20 women serving in the senate. What is one specific issue where these women leaders should challenge the male majority and take the lead?", she replied: "I really believe that sexual assault in our military is an issue that these women have gone to fight for and every single woman that fights in our military deserves the right to be safe and to be happy and to be respected by those she serves with. So those women should go to fight and they are and I’m so proud to be one of their constituents."

A graduate of Hofstra University, Kira earned numerous academic distinctions including admission to the Honors College, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, Gamma Theta Upsilon Geographical Honor Society, Hofstra Presidential Scholarship and Dean’s List. She hopes to obtain a Juris Doctorate and a Master’s degree in Business Administration and to pursue a career in International Diplomacy. During her year as Miss America she will serve as spokesperson for education as she travels to Washington, D.C., to work with the Department of Education. She announced that she has been accepted to study law at Fordham University Law School.
 

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev in swimsuit competition
Kira Kazantsev in Lifestyle & Fitness competition in pink Catalina swimsuit.
Although her sleek physique belies it, Kira's favorite Food is cheese. "It can also have pasta or pizza under it, but anything with cheese!", she says. Her favorite sport is golf. "I was a Nike-sponsored golfer at 12. My dad used golf to bond with me at a young age and then, I actually ended up being really good at it!"

Interestingly, during broadcast, co-host Lara Spencer asked head judge Kathy Ireland, the former top model and CEO of her own extensive brand, what qualities she would look for in the swimsuit competition. Ireland, replied, “I’m looking for someone who can captivate, someone who can connect with America and get great results. These women have a servant’s heart and she’s got a huge responsibility ahead of herself. She’s got to communicate in everything she does. I’m looking in the eyes.”

If she could have any secret wish or dream, she says it would be, "In a parallel universe, where I’m a few inches taller, I’m pretty sure I’d be a Radio City Rockette!"

The most influential person in her life, not surprisingly, is her parents. "My parents wanted a different life for me, so they fled the USSR and started in America with nothing. Their actions have shaped my values and goals, and are the greatest influences in my life.

One thing you can’t live without: My family’s support. They have sacrificed everything to make sure that I can pursue my goals. I can always call my mom and she will always put a smile on my face."

Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett
First runner-up, Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett
No doubt, seeing her "happily" clapping daughter crowned Miss America returned that favor. Congratulations to New York's Kira Kazantsev!

all Miss Americas

The 53 contestants, who represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, participated in preliminary competitions earlier in the week. They were judges on Talent, Lifestyle and Fitness (swimsuit competition), Evening Gown competition, private judges interviews, and a final on-stage question.

First runner-up in the competition was Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett who earned a $25,000 scholarship. Her talent was a classical vocal performance, and her personal platform is Defying Disabilities.

Second runner-up honors and a $20,000 scholarship were awarded to Miss Arkansas Ashton Jo Campbell. Her talent was a vocal performance, and her personal platform is Aim Higher: Setting Our Sights on Higher Education.

Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison was the winner of ABC's America's Choice, an online competition where viewers were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite Miss America contestant. The announcement was made at the beginning of the Miss America broadcast, and Sierra became the 15th finalist to compete in the live finale.

Miss North Dakota Jacky Arness, Judges Choice and Miss Congeniality
Miss North Dakota Jacky Arness, Judges Choice and Miss Congeniality

Miss North Dakota Jacky Arness was the winner of the Judge's Choice Award, an on-air, surprise opportunity for the judges to jointly select an additional contestant to compete among the finalists.

Jacky also won the coveted Miss Congeniality Award, which was awarded live for the first time on national television during the pre-show.

Returning to host the final 2015 Miss America Pageant Competition were Chris Harrison, host of "The Bachelor", and Lara Spencer from "Good Morning America".

Working alongside the esteemed hosts was an illustrious panel of judges:

  • Television producer and writer Marc Cherry
  • Super Bowl Champion and former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver
  • CEO and designer Kathy Ireland
  • U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson
  • West Point graduate and senior Army aviator General Anne Macdonald
  • Actress and former Miss America Lee Meriwether
  • CEO and author Gary Vaynerchuk 

The winners of $5,000 STEM Scholarships (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) are:

  • Miss New Mexico Jessica Burson
  • Miss Vermont Lucy Edwards
  • Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart
  • Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn
  • Miss Georgia Maggie Bridges

Throughout the evening, the preliminary host, Dena Blizzard, a former Miss New Jersey, shared fascinating live updates to viewers from Boardwalk Hall.
 

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev is crowned Miss America 2015- Newly crowned Miss America Kira Kazantsev reacts to winning
Kira Kazantsev, Miss New York, is crowned Miss America 2015 The new Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, takes her victory walk
Kira Kazantsev Miss America 2015 in swimsuit competition Kira Kazantsev in Miss America pageant evening gown competition
Kira Kazantsev in swimsuit competition Kira Kazantsev in evening gown event
Kira Kazantsev performs "Happy" in talent competition Kira Kazantsev answers final question at Miss America Pageant
Kira Kazantsev vocal performance of "Happy" in the talent competition...with a red plastic cup! Kira Kazantsev answers her final question about women taking the lead in the military
Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev

Pageant Results > Miss America Pageant > 2015

  • Miss America 2015 - Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev
  • 1st runner-up - Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett
  • 2nd runner-up - Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell
  • 3rd runner-up - Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen
  • 4th runner-up -  Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn

2015 Miss America pageant top 5
(From left to right) Miss Arkansas Ashton Jo Campbell, Miss Florida Victoria Cowen, Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn, Miss New York (winner) and Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett

2015 Top 5 On-Stage Questions

  • Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell - Shawn Johnson ask her about the issue of how three weeks ago a child killed a shooting instructor. Should there be restrictions on children and gun lessons.
     
  • Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen - Kathy Ireland asked her about the Ray Rice issue, where he punching his wife, who is standing by him. As a woman what do you think of her choice to stand by him?
     
  • Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev - Judge Lee Meriwether, a former Miss America, asked her about women leaders in the Senate and what issue they should be taking stand on.

    Reply: "I really believe that sexual assault in our military is an issue that these women have gone to fight for and every single woman that fights in our military deserves the right to be safe and to be happy and to be respected by those she serves with. So those women should go to fight and they are and I’m so proud to be one of their constituents."
     
  • Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett - Female General Anne Macdonald asked her about the savagery of ISIS threat shown through videos of beheading and what should be done about this savagery.
     
  • Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn - Marc Cherry asked her about sexual assault on college campuses, how only 1 in 4 college women report rape or intended rape. What must change to ensure women are safe on campuses?

2015 Semi-finalists

2015 Evening Gown Competition

  • Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray - White  off-the-shoulder beaded sheath
  • Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell - Skin-tone beaded fitted gown with slit front
  • Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen - Gold/skin-tone beaded bodice with glowing shirt
  • Miss Iowa, Aly Olson - Green flowing Grecian style gown
  • Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev - white gown with long sleeves and shoulder pads
  • Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett - Beaded white and skin-tone gown with flared shirt and train
  • Miss Kentucky, Ramsey Carpenter - Strapless white gown with flared skirt and train
  • Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart - White low-cut gown with deep plunge and collar and large train
  • Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler - White non-beaded fitted gown key-hole back and flowing skirt
  • Miss Tennessee, Hayley Lewis - Heavily beaded with gown with chiffon scarf back accent
  • Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn - White beaded partially sheer gown with train
  • Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell - Black and sheer skin-tone gown with sheer striped effect throughout skirt.

2015 Talent Competition

  • Miss Mississippi, Jasmine Murray - Vocal "Something's Got a Hold of Me"
  • Miss Arkansas, Ashton Jo Campbell - Vocal "Via Delarosa"
  • Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler - Contemporary dance
  • Miss Massachusetts, Lauren Kuhn - Performing her own arrangement, “Valse Dramatico”, on the piano
  • Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart - Ventriloquism, sings Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious along with her dummy partner
  • Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen - Dancing, lyrical ballet to "Note to God"
  • Miss Tennessee, Hayley Lewis - Vocal, sings Ben E. King’s "I Who Have Nothing"
  • Miss Virginia, Courtney Paige Garrett - Vocal, opera “Parla piu piano” in replica of Holiday Barbie gown (Sang in Carnegie Hall)
  • Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev - Singing "Happy" with a clapping cup
  • Miss Alabama, Caitlin Brunell - Dancing to “Let It Go” from the Disney movie "Frozen"

2015 Swimsuit Competition

2015 Miss America Pageant swimsuit competition
The semi-finalists compete in the 2015 Miss America Pageant Lifestyle & Fitness competition in Catalina swimsuits.

  • Miss Mississippi Jasmine Murray
  • Miss Virginia Courtney Paige Garrett
  • Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn
  • Miss Florida Victoria Cowen (Night #1 preliminary swimsuit winner)
  • Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter
  • Miss Texas Monique Evans
  • Miss Tennessee Hayley Lewis
  • Miss Alabama Caitlin Brunell
  • Miss Ohio Mackensie Bart
  • Miss Connecticut Acacia Courtney
  • Miss New York Kira Kazantsev
  • Miss Arkansas Ashton Campbell
  • Miss Iowa Aly Olson
  • Miss Oklahoma Alex Eppler (Night #2 preliminary swimsuit winner)
  • Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison (America’s Choice)
  • Miss North Dakota Jacky Arness (Judges’ Choice)

all Miss Americas

Preliminary Winners

Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler Miss Maryland Jade Kenny
Lifestyle & Fitness Night 1: Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen Lifestyle & Fitness Night 2: Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler Lifestyle & Fitness Night 3: Miss Maryland Jade Kenny

Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Fallon Smith
Talent Night 1: Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart Talent Night 1: Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter Talent Night 1: Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Fallon Smith

Night One Preliminary Winners

  • Lifestyle & Fitness (swimsuit): Miss Florida, Victoria Cowen wearing a two-piece, hot pink Catalina swimsuit
  • Talent: Miss Ohio, Mackenzie Bart - ventriloquism with dummy singing the song "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"

Night Two Preliminary Winners

  • Lifestyle & Fitness (swimsuit): Miss Oklahoma, Alex Eppler wearing a two-piece, hot pink Catalina swimsuit
  • Talent: Miss Kentucky Ramsey Carpenter - Fiddle performance of "Sally Goodin" and "Orange Blossom Special"

Night Three Preliminary Winners

  • Lifestyle & Fitness (swimsuit): Miss Maryland Jade Kenny wearing a two-piece, light pink Catalina swimsuit
  • Talent: Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Fallon Smith - Vocal performance of "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" from Phantom of the Opera

Quality of Life awards:

Miss Alabama Caitlin Brunell Miss Delaware - Brittany Lewis Miss Maryland - Jade Kenny
Miss Alabama Caitlin Brunell Miss Delaware Brittany Lewis Miss Maryland Jade Kenny

The winner of the Quality of Life Award will receive a $6,000 scholarship, the first runner-up will win a $4,000 scholarship, and the second runner-up will win a $2,000 scholarship.

  • $6,000 Quality of Life Award winner - Miss Alabama Caitlin Brunell

    Miss Alabama Caitlin Brunell has helped to improve the quality of life for individuals through her platform, Caitlin's Closet: One Stop Shopping for Life. Miss Alabama has used her platform to empower others to realize that even though they are faced with a difficult situation. After her family lost everything in a house fire, Caitlin felt inspired by all of those who helped her. Her platform has enabled her to go above and beyond in her efforts to help others faced with similar situations in their own lives.
     
  • $4,000 Quality of Life 1st runner-up and scholarship winner - Miss Delaware Brittany Lewis

    Brittany's personal platform Domestic Violence Awareness, sheds light on the issue of domestic violence in the nation. Brittany has made a lifelong commitment to support domestic violence victims and their families.
     
  • $2,000 Quality of Life 2nd runner-up and scholarship winner - Miss Maryland Jade Kenny

    Her platform involves supporting The Rainbows Organization, which promotes the importance of gaining access to an outlet for grief after losing a loved one. Jade hopes to spread the message of healing and hope after suffering from any loss. 

STEM Scholarship Awards

The 10 finalists for $5,000 STEM scholarships were:

The Finalists for the 2015 S.T.E.M. scholarships are:

  • Miss Georgia Maggie Bridges
  • Miss Hawaii Stephanie Steuri
  • Miss Massachusetts Lauren Kuhn
  • Miss New Hampshire Megan Cooley
  • Miss New Mexico Jessica Burson
  • Miss Ohio Mackenzie Bart
  • Miss Oregon Rebecca Anderson
  • Miss Puerto Rico Yarelis Salgado
  • Miss Texas Monique Evans
  • Miss Vermont Lucy Edwards 

Related articles:

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Copyright, ©Pageant Center, 1998. All rights reserved. This material is fully protected by US copyright law. No content on this website can be reproduced or otherwise used without written permission from pageantcenter.com.
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