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24 Hours With Miss Ohio

Daily life on the pageant circuits

A few years ago, Kelsey Retz left West Chester to attend college in LA and work in fashion PR. Her co-worker took one look at her and said, “You should do pageants. Your presence is strong, you take care of yourself and you look incredible!” Kelsey recalls.

That was on a Friday.

“On Monday morning, [the co-worker] handed me a piece of paper telling me that I had been entered in the Miss California pageant in the USA circuit,” says Kelsey.

It was her first pageant, and Kelsey won the title of Miss Los Angeles (USA circuit) and competed for Miss California. The following year she won Miss Bel Air in the Miss United States circuit.

Since then, the 21-year-old has moved back to West Chester and continues to compete. When she isn’t prepping for competitions, she is a fashion stylist at Designer Items and More, a local upscale boutique.

She has claimed the titles of Miss Cincinnati (The United States circuit) and Miss Ohio All-Star United States. In July, she placed in the top ten in the Miss All-Star United States Pageant. 

The daily preparation during a pageant is intense. Here is a typical 24-hour pageant day with Kelsey. 


5 a.m.

Kelsey wakes to get ready. She does her own hair and makeup in a multi-layered, hour-long process.

7:30 a.m.

Kelsey goes to rehearsal until noon to learn the entire show, including the opening and closing numbers and walking routines. 


The contestants eat lunch and touch up their hair and makeup.

1:30 p.m.

The women wait backstage. Kelsey listens to her pageant playlist with artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Shane Hunter. 

2 p.m.

The pageant begins with the opening dance number.

3 p.m.

The contestants show off their toned bikini bodies in bright and flattering suits in the swimwear category.

4 p.m.

Each woman looks flawless, covered in sparkling accessories and elaborate ballgowns for the evening gown category. 

5 p.m.

In the final category, each contestant is asked a random question onstage. They must answer on the spot to showcase their public speaking abilities and personalities.

5:45 p.m.

There’s a lot of excitement and energy on stage for the closing number, and then the winner is crowned. The women support each other with cheers and applause. 

7 p.m.

After, Kelsey has earned a celebratory dinner: steak and fries or spaghetti and a giant slice of chocolate cake.