By Amantha Garpiel
SIDNEY — Kayla Smith, 19, of Sidney, was chosen to represent Sidney as Miss Sidney in the 2023 Miss Ohio USA pageant on May 19 and 20.
Recently medically discharged from the U.S. Army, Smith completed the application process to compete in the Miss Ohio USA pageant in February 2023 as a way to break out of her own shell.
“I’m using it as a therapeutic way to get over some of that (mental illness),” said Smith. “It’s like throwing yourself out there so everything else is less scary.”
To be chosen as the Miss Ohio USA representative from Sidney, Smith submitted her headshots and application which included answers to questions regarding her proudest moment, what makes her unique, what she is passionate about and why she wants to be Miss Ohio USA.
“My goal is to advocate for mental health by raising awareness and encouraging others to seek treatment for PTSD and other mental health conditions,” wrote Smith in her application. “Sharing my personal journey of overcoming PTSD can be used to reduce the stigma around mental health as well as inspire others who may be struggling with similar challenges. I believe that participation in the pageant can help emphasize self care to others through not just physical but emotional health.”
She also shared her passion for discussing the importance of mental health and empowering young people. “I want to help motivate them to become leaders and make a positive impact by providing opportunities for leadership, acknowledging contributions of young people who are making a positive impact, providing mentorship and emphasizing the importance of empathy and compassion.”
Smith is competing against between 50 and 60 other young women representing different areas of Ohio for the title of Miss Ohio USA in various categories including an interview process, swimsuit and evening gown competitions that will be judged on the women’s stage presence.
Viewers can watch online at www.pageantvision.com on May 19 at 7:30 p.m. and May 20 at 4 p.m. Viewers and attendees of the pageant can also vote for Fan Favorite and People’s Choice online at www.missohiousa.com/vote. The Fan Favorite winner is guaranteed a spot in the finals and the People’s Choice winner is guaranteed a spot in the semifinals.
The pageant is being held at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts in Portsmouth, 940 Second St. Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets online at http://www.missohiousa.com/tickets