Desirae Ball is the new Miss SUUMarch 01, 2005
Author: Renee Ballenger
A 21-year-old junior majoring in Psychology, and from Gunnison, Utah, Desirae captured her new title last weekend during a glamorous scholarship pageant in the Randall Jones Theatre at Southern Utah University.
She competed against 18 other young ladies in the categories of Private Interview (40%), Talent (30%), Evening Wear (10%), On-stage Interview (10%) and Swimsuit (10%).
The Private Interview before judges is notoriously the hardest and more nerveracking categories of competition, but Desirae reports that she usually does well in it. Desirae has competed in seven pageants. As far at the Private Interview goes for the Miss SUU pageant, she says, “I felt really good about it. They asked me about a lot subjects I knew about.”
The category she least enjoys is that of On-stage Interview. “You only get 15 seconds to answer a very involved question,” Desirae explains. “I usually feel strongly about the subject and I want to say so much, but knowing I only have 15 seconds, I’m forced to give a short answer that just hits the surface and sometimes seems superficial.”
Maybe to the surprise of some, Desirae’s favorite category is Swimsuit. “I love Swimsuit! I look at it as being focused on physical fitness.”
Many spectators of the Miss SUU 2005 pageant agree that while Desirae did well in all the categories, the one that clinched the crown for her was her Talent performance. She’s been playing piano for 12 years and last Saturday night she gave a stunning display of her experience and skill. Her fingers traveled up and down the keyboard at lightning speed as she delivered “Humoreske” by Rachmaninoff. Her body dramatically swayed with her hands and the music. The crowd roared when she was finished.
The Miss SUU pageant is an official preliminary event of the Miss America pageant. As is the Miss Utah pageant, which is where Desirae, now Miss SUU, will go this June to continue her journey in the Miss America organization. This won’t be Desirae’s first occasion participating in the Miss Utah pageant; she competed in it before as Miss Gunnison. Desirae exclaims, “The first time I competed in Miss Utah, I did it for the very worthwhile experience. This time I’m going there to compete, and win!”
Each contestant in a Miss America organization pageant must have a platform, an issue or program that she commits to support throughout her reign, should she be crowned a winner. Desirae’s platform is to educate people on the negative influences of the media. Quite possibly a more unconventional platform than most, Desirae’s is one that is complex and one she is very passionate about. In fact, she states, “I don’t think I chose Media Influence as my platform, I think it chose me!” She desires to educate people of all ages by giving her self-authored PowerPoint presentation, chock-full of research, at schools, community organizations and service groups. “I’m looking forward to teaching SUU-aged people about my platform. I want to talk to legislators too.” Desirae’s idea of the ultimate career would be to have her own private practice as a psychologist. She declares of the influence of the media, “I think it could be the thing that kills America. But one of the reasons I love my platform is because negative media influence is something we can control.”
With her Miss SUU crown, Desirae won a $2000 scholarship, $1000 toward her Miss Utah expenses, and many other prizes and gifts from various sponsors. “I feel so strongly about the Miss America organization,” she says. “It has truly influenced where I am today. It has made a difference in my life in so many positive ways.”
For this and archived releases, please see www.suu.edu/news
Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to 6,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.