Knight crowned Miss Florida

For the third consecutive year, a UCF student has been crowned Miss Florida. In addition to that, 11 students competed in the competition, a record-high for UCF.

“UCF really does strive for excellence,” said Stephanie Ziajka, a graduate of the actuarial science program at UCF and Miss Florida semi-finalist. “I feel like all of the 11 girls are all so talented, and we’re all so different. I think that’s why we did so well. We’re all smart, we’re all beautiful and we’re all extremely talented. I think that any of the 11 girls could have won Miss Florida, and Kristina Janolo did.”

On July 9, after her sixth year competing, Kristina Janolo, a senior marketing major and Miss Winter Park, was named Miss Florida.Janolo was unavailable for an interview.

“This is her sixth year in the pageant, and you could just tell last night, this is her night,” Veronica Livesay, co-executive director of the MissUCF pageant, said.

Students who dream of one day wearing a sash that reads “Miss Florida” should get started now. To enter the Miss Florida competition, contestants must have won a local title, such as MissUCF. Tryouts for the Miss UCF pageant will be held at the beginning of the fall semester.

“This is my first year,” Erin O’Flaherty, a junior molecular and microbiology major and Miss Florida contestant, said. “I started because last year I saw Miss UCF, and I saw everything that she was doing in the community, and really looked up to that.”

Many contestants said that they gain a lot more than a sparkly crown, a sash and a scholarship from this competition.

“Winning Miss Florida changed my life,” Rachael Todd, Miss Florida 2009 and a graduate of the interpersonal communications program at UCF, said. “When you attend high-caliber events, and you walk in and you’ve got this banner on you, all of the sudden you’re on a level playing field with a lot of executives, CEO’s, mayors and governing officials. What you learn as Miss Florida is you don’t have to have that banner across your chest to be the same person that can be competitive in the workplace and carry on a conversation with theseindividuals.”

Sara York, senior event management major and Miss Florida contestant, said she grows a little bit more with each competition. Constantly forcing herself to step outside of her comfort zone has ultimately made her a stronger person.

Women who competed went through a weeklong process that started Monday, when they were divided into groups and interviewed. Then the preliminary competition began and contestants competed in three areas over the course of two nights, including onstage questionnaire, lifestyle and fitness and evening gown. Contestants also had to learn an opening and closing dance routine.

Read the rest of the article from the Central Florida Future here.

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