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NEW: Rhode Island’s Two Contenders for Miss America Crown

Saturday, January 12, 2013

 

Miss RI Kelsey Fournier competes earlier this week in evening gown preliminaries.

Two young women with Rhode Island ties are vying for the 2013 Miss America crown tonight, and at 9pm EST on ABC, the pageantry will get underway.

Pawtucket native Kelsey Fournier will be representing Rhode Island in Las Vegas at the competition tonight; and Taylor Kinzler, a URI student, will be representing Massachusetts. Will lightning strike twice, after Miss Rhode Island USA Oliva Culpo went all the way to take the Miss Universe title last month in Las Vegas? Tonight will tell.

Miss Rhode Island: Kelsey Fournier

The 23-year-old Pawtucket native had never entered a pageant prior to the Miss Rhode Island Scholarship Pageant. She entered, she said, in order to earn a scholarship to graduate school.

As an undergraduate at Rhode Island College, majoring in health education, with a concentration in community health, Fournier’s academic prowess placed her on the dean’s list for four years. She graduated cum laude and was a Presidential Scholar in May 2012. That same month, she earned the title of Miss Rhode Island.

Fournier is also a veteran of the Super Bowl--as a New England Patriots cheerleader and line captain for 3 years, she cheered on the team in its 2012 bid in Indianapolis at Super Bown XLIV.

In her current run for Miss America, she must establish a “social platform” – an issue she considers important – and discuss the issue during the preliminary competition. Fournier based her platform on what she learned at RIC – fitness and health education.

“My hope, as Miss America, is to work nationally with Let’s Move, the childhood obesity prevention initiative by First Lady Michelle Obama, to help lay the foundation for a healthier America,” she said.

“Giving back is so important to me," she added, "and who is more influential, who reaches more people, particularly young people, than Miss America.”

Miss Massachusetts: URI Student Taylor Kinzler

URI student Taylor Kinzler rocks the house during preliminary talent competition as Miss Massachusetts.

She may hail from nearby Lakeville, Massachusetts, but  Miss Massachusetts Taylor Kinzler is a proud Rhody Ram--the 20-year-old contestant is a broadcast journalism major at the University of Rhode Island. Kinzler is also a sideline sports reporter at URI.

It was on her third run at the state title that Kinzler took the crown in June of 2012. She was a former Miss New Bedford. “My message to everyone out there is that you can achieve everything you set your mind to,” Kinzler told the Taunton Gazette. “I’m living proof of that. I’ve learned so much from this. The biggest thing I want people to know is you really can achieve your goals.”

Kinzler's platform as Miss Massachusetts has been to raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network charity, Miss America’s national platform, supporting healthcare for sick and injured children.

Who will make the Top 15?

To qualify for the first cut into the Final 15 tonight, Miss America contestants needed to amass online votes--Miss America's website hosted online voting until January 10. Now, the country waits to see which 15 young women produced the biggest base to move into the next round.

The voting site posted a video for each contestant. View Fournier's and Kinzler's videos, here:

Miss Rhode Island Kelsey Fournier:

 

 

Miss Massachusetts Taylor Kinzler:

 

 

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