How pageants are addressing mental health and fitness

An insider on fitness and mental health experiences for pageant women
(Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Jade Thai Catwalk)

Earlier this year we lost Miss USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, who was a bright light in the pageant community and media industry. Unfortunately, she was battling high-functioning depression. The entire pageant community was deeply saddened by this sudden loss and has made it their mission to continue promoting healthy lifestyles and mental health awareness in every pageant system.

With pageant season coming up in October and December, many women are currently preparing mentally and physically for state, national, and international pageants. Although pageants only last a few days, the preparation starts long before the big day.


Rolling out sat down with three current pageant titleholders who shared their perspective on how pageants have affected their lives mentally and physically. They also shared their current mental health and fitness routines.

Have pageants been a positive or negative experience for your mental and physical health?


Kiirsten Allen, USOA Miss Georgia:  Pageants have been a bit of both, they come with ups and downs just like any other venture in life. I would say everything I have learned about myself and my mental health has been a result of pageantry. It allowed me to take a deeper look into myself and try to learn how to sustain my mental health.

What is your mental and physical health routine?

Allen: For fitness, my goal is to set aside at least three days out of the week to be active for at least 30 minutes. For mental health, some days are better than others, but when you know your work ethic and truly believe in yourself the negative thoughts don’t last long.

(Image source: Instagram – @thekiirstenallen)

Have pageants been a positive or negative experience for your mental and physical health?

Chinelo Aniekwu, Miss Georgia Olive: Both have been positive experiences. It’s had a positive experience on my mental health only because participating has forced me to do a lot of self-reflection.

What is your mental and physical health routine?

Aniekwu: I work out three times a week. Two group fitness classes and a freestyle one every week. I’ve turned everything into something fun, or I won’t stick to it.

Chinelo Aniekwu (Image source: Instagram – @thechineloaniekwu)

Have pageants been a positive or negative experience for your mental and physical health?

Rachel Russaw, Miss GA South USA: Both have been positive experiences. As far as mental health I love the focus and dedication that I have preparing for the pageant, which has tied over to life as an entrepreneur. Of course, there can be negative thoughts and self-doubt when putting yourself out there. It’s important to take breaks to focus on self-care.

What is your mental and physical health routine?

Russaw: I like to set small goals for myself and increase them as time goes on. This pageant season I’ll be working with a fitness coach to be more disciplined. For mental health, I love having days where I disconnect and spend time doing things that I love.

(Image source: Instagram – @rachellmariee_)

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