FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Miss West Virginia United States 2018 Chelsi Rose shared her experience being crowned last Saturday at Fairmont State University and her hopes for the year ahead.
Rose has been competing in pageants since the early age of 6, and she didn’t realize she would end up attributing pageants as the “best decision of her life.”
“I never really competed in the glitzy, glamour, all-makeup stuff,” Rose said. “Everything was all natural and scholarship based, and through that process I was actually able to go to a Jesuit college for little to no tuition whatsoever. I had been getting scholarships since the time I was 6, which is really cool.”
Since then, Rose started her own pageant consulting business in hopes of getting younger girls involved in pageantry.
Now at the ambitious age of 23, Rose currently owns FST Images, a marketing and media group out of Parkersburg.
“We do a lot of work with corporate clients, but being an entrepreneur, I get to make my own schedule, so it’s really easy to balance everything out,” Rose said.
Rose said she was excited to participate in the Miss West Virginia United States pageant on Saturday at FSU knowing what the organization stands for.
“This was actually my third pageant in West Virginia, and I really, really love this organization,” Rose said. “It’s everything I was brought up to understand about pageantry, and it’s one of the best organizations out there. I’m really excited to represent it.”
Rose competed in multiple rounds including a personal interview, swimsuit competition, evening gown competition and an on-stage question, that earned her the crown at the end of the night.
“Saturday was actually one of the best pageant experiences that I’ve ever had,” Rose said. “Summer (Blalock), the pageant director, ran such a great show. Everything was extremely and incredibly organized and all of the contestants were very polished. I just feel it’s going to be a great organization to work with.”
For Rose, she said that being crowned Miss West Virginia United States 2018 was surreal, and she’s looking forward to the busy year ahead of her.
“It’s definitely a whirlwind, that’s for sure,” Rose said. “It’s appearance after appearance, and I’m really excited to get out there and start making a difference.”
As a titleholder with the Miss United States organization, Rose will represent and promote a specific platform during her reign.
“My platform that I’ve actually been working on for quite some time is inclusive education in schools,” Rose said. “My slogan is ‘We no longer need a special education, but rather an education that is special.'”
Rose said her niece was born with cerebral palsy and when she was born, her family was told that she wouldn’t live through the night. Now she is 6 years old and enrolled at an inclusive school.
“She goes to a school that has no special education,” Rose said. “They have two teachers per classroom and every child, no matter their disability, is taught the same way, the same timing, and a statistic that is actually really cool is that 40 percent of children who start kindergarten at this school graduate 12th grade with little to no learning disability at all. That’s my platform that I want to introduce into the West Virginia school districts, and hopefully after Miss United States, I will be able to promote that nationwide.”
Rose said she plans on visiting different school boards around the state to present some different statistics and share success of schools around the country who are already introducing these types of programs.
“It’s been proven that it works,” Rose said. “I want to be able to introduce that and my goal is to get at least five schools on board by the time my year is over so it can kind of be a ripple effect.”
Before she can go to work on her platform, Rose has a lot of preparation ahead of her to be ready for the Miss United States pageant in July.
“I have my personal trainer who I work with to get ready for the swimsuit and fitness portion, my interview coach to sit down and do mock interviews and get my platform solidified and my wardrobe sponsor, who I’ll meet in Chicago to design a custom wardrobe next month,” Rose said. “There’s a lot going on but I’m really excited.”
The Miss United States pageant will be held June 29-July 7 in Orlando, Florida, and Rose said she can’t wait to participate.
“I’m so excited for July,” Rose said. “I’m excited to meet all of the other women from across the nation that are kind of doing the same things as I am in our own communities, and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories and seeing what kinds of changes they’re making.
“Yes, it is a competition, but it’s also sort of a conference or a coming together of women who are making a difference. I’m really excited about that.”
While the national pageant may seem like a lot of pressure, Rose is looking forward to competing and representing the state of West Virginia.
“My favorite thing about West Virginia is the people,” Rose said. “I’ve traveled all over the United States and all over the world to several different countries, and calling West Virginia home is exactly what I want in life. The people here are so welcoming and so kind. You drive down the street and people wave at you. People call you to check in on you and see how you are. It’s not like that in the rest of the world. I really, really appreciate the people here.”
Information from: Times West Virginian, http://www.timeswv.com