By Carrie C. Causey
WAKEFIELD — Wakefield High alumna Ashley Love-Mills made it into the top 10 Sunday night, representing North Carolina in the Miss U.S.A. pageant.
Though she didn’t respond when contacted for a comment about the experience, Love-Mills took to Twitter saying she “had the best time at Miss USA. What a blessing & a thrill being on stage.”
Love-Mills is a 24-year-old N.C. State graduate with a bachelor of arts in media communications and a minor in television and film production.
During her introduction at the competition, Love-Mills told the world she hopes to meet Tyler Perry and sees herself working in Hollywood and thinks Perry would be a great mentor. She also reportedly brought 40 pairs of shoes with her to the competition and has a passion for Harry Potter and cooking.
Love-Mills also gave mention of her father who is battling cancer, calling him her motivation for the competition.
“It’s difficult as a daughter that I can’t contribute to the healing. He is what motivates me. I am chasing after this dream for him,” she said during the televised interview.
Once she earned the title of Miss N.C.-U.S.A., she knew she wanted to make a difference by speaking out against something she has been victim to — bullying. She made appearances all over the state as spokesperson for Peaceful Schools-N.C. She also has an anti-bullying campaign called Reach For More: Be Better Than Average.
In her Twitter comments recently she had a message for those who have been less than supportive.
“And a special shoutout to those who continue to call me ugly ... I think the judges & others around the world might disagree ... but of course, we are entitled to our opinion. But because you have one, doesn’t mean it should be spoken aloud. I’m a real person with feelings.”
Love-Mills’ month of June has been spent in Las Vegas, gearing up for the pageant, getting hair and makeup done, doing appearances, having nights on the town and meeting people from all over the country.
She first became interested in pageants the summer before her senior year in high school.
Once she decided to participate, she received help and support from Friendship Chapel Baptist Church in Wake Forest and others in the area to help fund the expense.
Love-Mills works as a model but also keeps busy as Miss N.C.-U.S.A. doing community service, making public appearances and networking in order to make the most of her year.
“It is more than a crown,” she said to The Wake Weekly back in March. “It’s a job. It’s not just wearing a swimsuit and a pretty dress.”
The next Miss N.C.-U.S.A. pageant is in November.