By now you've no doubt heard that Gracie Hunt, daughter of the CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs and heiress to the Lamar Hunt Trophy empire, was just crowned Miss Kansas, and is onto the Miss USA pageant:
While I hadn't been familiar with her work before Reags brought us this news of her triumph, in the few days since, I'm come to respect and appreciate this young hopeful for the fierce, determined competitor she is.
Most newly crowned state pageant winners would be perfectly satisfied to rest on their laurels and their sashes. To lay low for a while, take a deep breath and soak it all in. Maybe give it a week or two before they look at the national pageant ahead. Work on their answers to questions about empowering the next generation of female leaders or hone their flaming baton twirling skills or whatever. Not our Miss Kansas. She wasted no time planting her flag in the soil and putting the competition on notice that she didn't come this far just to come this far.
Prepare yourselves, 49 other states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. This is what you are going up against:
Yeah, good luck with that. This must have been what it felt like to be a PGA Tour veteran when Tiger turned pro, hit the driving range with all of them and just started blasting perfectly shaped 3-iron shots 25 yards past their best drives. Just having the unshakable feeling that there is a new giant in the game and your time is over.
I mean, how do you go up against that, much less defeat it? This is the reason the Swimsuit Competition was invented. Hell, its the reason the swimsuit was invented. She's powerful. Dazzling. Confident. And why shouldn't she be? This is the genetically perfect human form. And even better than this unforgettable stage presence is her defense of the competition itself, as it comes under attack for being outdated and sexist for probably the 100th consecutive year:
Miss Kansas USA fitness competition!💪🏼💥 This is something I am often asked about. Health and fitness are more relevant today than ever before, as an obesity crisis looms large over America. An athlete my entire life, it took pageantry to teach me sustainable, real life health habits.
Competing in fitness is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever chosen to do. Preparing for swimsuit competition helped me not only to look good, but to feel good. Exercise and healthful eating reduce stress, increase heart health as well as overall happiness and wellness. Swimsuit modeling or showing my work in the pursuit of health and fitness does not in any way diminish my worth as a woman. It does not abate my true strength, lessen my credibility, or degrade any other area of my life. In fact it reinforces the notion that pageantry develops a hard work ethic in all areas of competition and life lessons about living healthy inside and out.
I want all women to feel empowered and strong, so that we may fulfill our potential and become the best versions of ourselves. We are all different. There is no “one size fits all,” but there is confidence in knowing that you are better today than you were yesterday. Work towards health and strength, it is empowering and confidence building. Let us encourage others, serve our communities, and love ourselves, knowing that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator (Psalm 139:14).
At least it would be, if getting out of a chair all at once didn't make my lower back sore and my hamstring throb. Not all of us are in pageant shape at the moment. And I could've lived without the Bible quote. There's a time and a place for those, and they're not when you're wowing America in a stunning blue two-piece.
But still, great for Gracie Hunt. This is how you silence the haters. She's not wearing that
Swimsuit Fitness Competition ensemble to show off how insanely attractive she is. It's to demonstrate her good health. To inspire a nation of sedentary slobs to get up out of the Lay-Z-Boy and get into shape. For their own sake, but also for the sake of the proud American institution of beauty pageants. To instill in us a work ethic so that we can be better versions of ourselves than we were yesterday. If that's not the message we need from our future Miss USA, then I don't know what is.
I say we still go on with the pageant as scheduled. But just for the sake of saving time, why don't we crown Gracie Hunt first, and then have the competition to see who's Miss Runner-Up.