Miss USA memories are prized

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Miss Washington USA Angelina Kayyalaynen may not have placed at the Miss USA Pageant, but it was still a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the 21-year-old Camas resident.

“After the pageant is over and done with, only one girl wins, but what you take away are the memories and the friendships you make with the people you meet there,” Kayyalaynen said.

She became especially close with her roommate, Miss Idaho, because both are European immigrants. Kayyalaynen is a Ukraine native, and Miss Idaho USA is from Kosovo.

The Miss USA Pageant was June 19 in Las Vegas, but Kayyalaynen had been there since June 1, rehearsing, preparing and appearing at events with the other contestants.

She competed in the preliminaries on June 15 in the evening gown, swimsuit and interview rounds. She did not make it to the semifinals, so did not compete in the televised pageant on the 19th. However, she did appear throughout the broadcast in all the group numbers.

Despite knowing how many people watch the pageant, Kayyalaynen wasn’t nervous.

“It felt very comfortable to be up there,” she said.

She continues her reign as Miss Washington USA through Oct. 9, but will start school at Washington State University Vancouver in August. Kayyalaynen will study psychology, and wants to be a marriage counselor.

She doesn’t think she’ll compete in more pageants, since she considers Miss USA the pinnacle. And though it was a great experience, she’s glad to be home.

“After three weeks of wearing heels, my feet were dying,” she said.