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Oles named 1st runner-up in Miss Michigan, plans to go back

by CJ Carnacchio

June 29, 2011

Oxford resident Kelly Oles sings "I Could Have Danced All Night" from the classic Broadway musical "My Fair Lady." Her performance was part of the talent portion of this year’s Miss Michigan pageant. Photos by Alan Carson.
Kelly Oles is the personification of that old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

The 23-year-old Oxford resident recently competed against 30 other young ladies in the Miss Michigan pageant for the second year in a row and was named first runner-up.

"It feels great," said the 2006 Oxford High School graduate. "It's such an honor especially when so many girls go up (there) holding a local title and work hard all year long. We're all extremely prepared when we go up to Muskegon."

Last year, Oles was named third runner-up in the prestigious competition. That added some pressure to this year's pageant.

"There were more expectations there because I had done so well the year before, (which) was my first year and first-time ever doing pageants," Oles explained.

Despite the increased expectations, Oles still enjoyed herself. "Seriously, it's a blast," she said. "I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it."

Even though she didn't win the crown this year, Oles will continue to reign as the 2011 Miss West Michigan, a title she won in December. But she hasn't given up on attaining the coveted Miss Michigan crown.

"I'm going to keep going," Oles said. "In the Miss America program, you age-out at 24 years old, so I actually have another year to run. But to run for Miss Michigan, I have to start all over again and win a local pageant."

That's why on Saturday, July 9 she will compete for the title of Miss Oakland County.

"Oakland County's always really competitive," Oles said. "We have a lot of good girls here and so many of my friends from Miss Michigan that just competed with me are going to Miss Oakland County to compete. It's anybody's to win. I'm just hoping for the best."

Each year, Oles feels like she's getting closer and closer to the Miss Michigan crown. "I'm really, really hoping that this next year will be my year," she said. "A lot of times it does happen that way where first runner-up goes back the next year and becomes Miss Michigan . . . But if not, it just wasn't God's plan and that's okay, too."

Oles will continue to promote her platform of "Healthy Living for Kids/Families Working as a Team."

"One in three children today are overweight or obese. It's sad; it really is," she said. "Especially because they're cutting school programs for healthy living and gym classes."

During the 2010-11 school year, Oles spent every Friday morning before classes began at Lakeville Elementary encouraging students to exercise and talking to them about eating better foods such as fruits and vegetables.

"I plan on continuing that program at Lakeville next year whether I win a title or not," she said. "I would love, love, love to get the other schools involved as well and have somebody run the programs there."

Oles knows firsthand how difficult it is to battle extra pounds and unhealthy eating habits.

"I was actually overweight when I was younger and I was unhealthy," she said. "I didn't understand that you can't eat fast food a couple of times a day. I was eating fast food a lot."

Oles added the element of family involvement to her platform because "it's going to take all of them to make the change."

"We need to be talking to families, not just to children," she said.

Oles is currently attending Walsh College in Troy where she's working on earning her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Between the Miss Michigan and Miss West Michigan pageants this season, she's earned $6,900 in scholarship money to aid her educational and career goals.

"I definitely want to own my own business one day," she said. "I'm not really sure what I want that to be. Part of me wants to own a gym and do the fitness route because of my platform."

She's also considering a career in advertising. "I have a very creative mind-set," Oles said.

Even though the upcoming 2011-12 pageant season will be her last as a contestant, Oles plans to stay involved.

"I truly believe that the (Miss America) organization will always be a part of my life," she explained. "I would like to become a local director and have my own pageant for girls who can then go (on to) compete for Miss Michigan."

Oles noted the Miss America organization is "the biggest provider" of scholarship money for women in the nation.

"We provided over $45 million last year," she said. "Miss Michigan (recently) gave over $50,000."