Ashley Kimball is a runner up no more. On March 2, she was named Miss Sonoma County, earning the crown in her last possible try.
She takes over from Jessica Greer who won last year and also attended SSU. Kimball will receive a $1,500 scholarship for the crown as well as $200 for the Reba Roberts Interview Award.
Kimball teaches and directs children's theater with McGrath's Performing Arts Academy and performed violin for the competition. She also had earned an Evert B. Person scholarship.
"Perseverance really paid off," says Kimball "and I have the support of my friends, family, and committee to thank for that."
The SSU junior answered a few questions the day after her victory, sharing her aspirations for the future.
1. Why did you get involved in the pageant?
I started working backstage at the Miss San Joaquin County pageant many years, and eventually decided to actually enter in the pageant. When I moved to Rohnert Park to attend Sonoma State, I quickly found the Miss Sonoma County Organization. I interviewed to be a contestant and quickly learned how incredible the organization was.
Every Sunday for nearly two months, I was trained free of charge in walking, comportment, etiquette, and interview. I was third runner up in the 2011 pageant, and the first runner up in the 2012 pageant, along with the Reba Roberts Top Interview Award. In Sonoma County, you may only run for the position a total of three times.
2. What are your duties going to be for the year?
I am privileged to be a representative of our organization along with Miss Sonoma County's Outstanding Teen, Emily Mott. We will be making appearances throughout the county at places such as city council meetings, city fairs, and radio stations. We will be at the Sonoma County Fair nearly every day celebrating how amazing our county is, along with countless other appearances.
I also will represent Sonoma County at the Miss California Pageant this June, an official preliminary to the Miss America Competition, along with 62 other contestants. It is sure to be a very exciting year.
3. What are you studying at SSU and how are you involved in campus life?
I am currently a Junior and a Theatre Arts Major and a Music Minor. For two years I worked for Associated Students as the Public Relations Coordinator. I am proud to be a founding member of the current Marketing and Communications Team (MAC) that serves the Associated Students.
I also worked on events through Associated Students Productions. In my time, I assisted/coordinated Campus MovieFest 2011 and 2012, The Tunnel of Oppression 2012, Election Central 2012, and Student/Faculty Diversity Workshops with Lee Mun Wah. I was also was a proud member of the M.O.S.A.I.C. Living Community my freshmen year.
4. Any community work or service work?
As Miss Sonoma County, I have what is called a platform, or a cause that I represent an promote throughout my year of service. My chosen platform is "Enriching Children's Lives Through Theatre." I truly believe that theatre allows children to experience and grow in an environment that promotes healthy competition, positive teamwork, and strengthens their confidence.
These valuable life lessons can be learned in no other way than to experience them, and theatre is a fantastic way to do so for these children. Throughout my year I will be visiting different local schools, children's groups, and homeless shelters to work with children and strengthen their confidence through different workshops.
I will also be volunteering at many local community assistance organizations. I thrive on community service and I am excited to incorporate my title as Miss Sonoma County 2013 into that service.
6. Future aspirations?
It may sound crazy, but I truly aspire to be Miss California and then eventually, Miss America. I am so proud to be a part of the Miss Sonoma County Organization, and I look forward to working as a partner with them for many years to come. After college, I also plan to open my own children's theatre studio in the area.
I want it to be a place where a child of any financial situation can come and be accepted by a family of the arts. I cannot wait to give back to this community that I have truly fallen in love with. This is a very exciting time, and I will be certain to utilize my opportunity to the fullest.
Above, Ashley Kimball is crowned Miss Sonoma County 2013 at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center on March 2. She heads to Fresno in June to compete in the Miss California pageant. (Photo by Will Bucquoy)