PITTSBURG — On some weekends, Emily McGehee puts on her boots, camouflage pants and jacket, and on others, pageant attire.
The Pittsburg State University freshman joined the U.S. Army Reserve when she was 17. Around the same time, the she started entering pageants.
“It’s a weird combo,” she said, adding it is always the first question brought up during the interview process of a pageant.
McGehee competed over the weekend in the Miss Kansas USA competition at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane. The 19 year-old did not place, but looks forward to competing again next year.
This is her third competition, but the first time for Miss Kansas. Because of her age, the prior two years she competed in Miss Kansas Teen USA.
She has only received an honorable mention during the Miss Teen contest, but sees her pageant and Army Reserves career as leading to her ultimate goal — being a linguist for the CIA or FBI.
The Army Reserve factor will “obviously” help, she said, and the pageant portion makes her a “unique” applicant for the job.
Since she is from Rose Hill, Kansas, she decided to represent PSU instead of Pittsburg. So at the competition, she went as Miss Gorilla Nation and was one of 22 contestants vying for the Miss Kansas title.
McGehee said the competition requires a $1,000 entry fee and for next year’s competition she will try to solicit local businesses. As for why the 5-foot, 9-inch brunette into the Army Reserve: “I wanted to give younger girls someone to look up to,” she said.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.