Robyn Kass-Gerji Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2020
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Robyn Kass-Gerji Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2020.
Full name: Robyn Kass-Gerji
Title/Year: Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2020
Pageant System: Miss America
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Hobbies: Singing, Piano, Guitar, Writing, Photography, Painting, Reading, Volunteering, and Boxing
Platform: End Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault
Years competed: This is my second year competing as a Miss and competition in the Miss America Organization. But I competed on and off in other systems from ages 3-16.
Countries visited: Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Costa Rica, France, Italy, Spain, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Honduras, Curaçao, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and The British Virgin Islands.
Likes: Food, Music, Netflix, Sleeping, Animals, Haunted Houses, and Chocolate
Dislikes: Spiders and Licorice
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
I am currently pursuing my second Bachelors degree. This one is in Psychology. My first degree is in media studies. In the fall of 2020 I am planning on attending a school that will allow me to pursue both a Masters Degree in Forensic Psychology and a Law Degree. In the future I want to work in the Behavioral Analysis Division of the Crimes Against Children’s Unit of the FBI. Until then I like to spend my time with my family and my dogs. I have two dogs, Shiba and Puck. I have three siblings and nephew who I think of as more of a little brother. My mother is my best friend and I can talk to her about anything but my dad is the person who I get to ‘nerd out’ with and go to Comic Con with every year. I am a huge hockey fan and I NEVER miss a Pittsburgh Penguins game either in person or live on TV. Before my younger brother passed away, due to a battle with terminal cancer, he and I went to almost every game together. To this day I keep that legacy alive by taking my nephew along to every game when I am in Pittsburgh. World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment means to you?
To me empowerment means owning who you are, flaws and all. Our flaws are what make each and everyone of us unique. The more you embrace each of your flaws the more confident in your own skin you become and confidence is key. I have learned that if you believe in yourself there really is nothing standing in your way from achieving your goals and more. World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
I started out competing a young child because my sister, who is ten years older, was competing and I wanted to be just like her. When she stopped, so did I. But in middle and high school I was getting bullied tremendously, both mentally and physically, so much so that my self esteem and my bones were literally shattered. I was about 13 when my mom decided that it would be a good idea to put me back into pageantry because she knew how much it built my confidence. She was right and from then on I was honored enough to hold multiple state and national titles throughout different systems as a teen. When I went to college in 2014 though, I decided it was time to take a break. I took the chance to study abroad and even dyed my hair just about every color of the rainbow. Then last year I realized, thanks to some forever pageant sisters and watching Miss America, how much I missed competing. And now here we are!
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
My older sister. I wanted to be just like her. But watching my sister queens compete made me want to return to the stage last year.
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title?
I love the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. I am not originally from there, but the love I have received from everyone there has made it a second home. Plus I am a huge Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins fan, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, so this give me another excuse to add to my list to go to more and more games. World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
The Miss America system has had a lot of changes over the years, from removing swimsuit to adding a social impact statement. But it never has changed the fact that it is a scholarship pageant who is dedicated to its girls and serving the community. Miss America is and will always be a scholarship organization providing opportunities for anyone who wants to take part in any level of competition. That is part of the reason that I love being apart of the Miss America organization. I have yet to experience another system like it!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
Onstage Interview/Social Impact Initiative
Red Carpet (Evening Wear)
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
Being apart of MAO has been a life changing experience at both the location and state level. I love being on stage but interview will always be my favorite part of competition. I have a tendency to talk a lot and interview just gives me another excuse to speak more. But the biggest thing for me is that I have made friends and sister queens for like. Every single one of the girls I have met have made a lasting impression on my life. They are all amazing young women who have so much going for them and I really can’t wait to see them all achieve their goals. My local directors have basically become my second and third family. My local directors and both of their families treat the title holders like their own daughters and sisters. Even our new state director thinks of us as an extension of her family. The Pennsylvania MAO truly is one big family and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
My platform/Social Impact Initiative is End Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault. As a survivor of sexual assault, I have decided to take the pain from my own experience to help as many other as I possibly can. I even became a licensed Sexual Assault Advocate. I work with a numerous amount of anti-human trafficking and sexual assault non-profits through the country. I even just started my own non-profit called Project We Are that provides resources for survivors for rehabilitation and trauma help. We also provide training resources for anyone who wants to help end the trafficking and assault epidemic. Currently I am working with a few Pennsylvania state representatives on building a law that makes it mandatory for hospital and school staff to receive this training.
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
Where to begin! I have done appearances with multiple anti-trafficking and anti-sexual assault organizations. I also work with Make-A-Wish of Western PA and WV and I sit on the board of the Red Show Crew, a young professional group that is part of the Ronald McDonald House of Pittsburgh. I have done a few appearances with them and have many more coming up. I've done appearances with Salvation Army the NOH8 Campaign. And let’s not forget holiday parades in Wilkes-Barra and Scranton!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
I have a few things that I am proud of but my biggest achievement is the annual fundraiser that I co-created called Zachary’s Wish for Make-A-Wish. This is a fundraiser that is dedicated to raising funds for Make-A-Wish in honor of my brother who passed away from cancer two years ago, at the age of 16. My brother, Zachary, was a Make-A-Wish kid and for the entire time he was suffering the trip our family took to Atlantis, thanks to Make-A-Wish, was the only time he was able to forget he was sick and just be happy. Zachary had planned to hold a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish instead of having a a party for his 17th birthday but unfortunately didn’t make it, so my mother, sister and I held it for him instead. Since Zachary’s Wish began 2 years ago, we have raised almost $100,000. I can’t wait to see what happens this year!
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
I think what makes me stand out is my passion and life perspective. My passion for not only wanting to help others but my passion to better myself and everyone around me. I am also proud to say I am a first generation American and taking everything I have learned as well as my experience coming from a family of immigrants has let me be able to see the world from so many different angles. The world can be a scary and dark place and I am prepared to take on a role that will help bring some light into those darker places and moments.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
I cried. I actually blubbered like a baby. I have had other titles before but it never gets less shocking to hear your name called. There’s always so much going through my head because you can never know what the judges are thinking. To be honest i cant remember, I was in shock so much that it has all become a blur literally, and figuratively thanks to the tears.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
Anytime you wear that crown it is like holding a metaphorical microphone. To me being a beauty queen means using that metaphorical microphone to speak and make changes for the better. You have to be willing to use that metaphorical microphone t to make changes for the better. The moment you put on that crown and sash you become something more than yourself. You are a role model and an inspiration to anyone around you. They look to you for guidance and if you are doing your best to lift everyone around you with the good you are putting out into the world then they will do the same. You have to be willing to use that metaphorical microphone that gives you a larger platform to make changes for the better.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants helped your life?
Competing in pageant has given me so much. I have had the opportunity to gain life skills such as interview and public speaking skills as well as the ability to hold myself as such high regards. By this I mean that being apart of pageantry has made me realize that to be my best self I have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. I have learned that nobody is perfect and that if I tried to be perfect I would be boring.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants helped your selfesteem and body image?
I love myself. The girls I have become close with in pageantry have been amazing with helping me gain a lot more self confidence. We all strive to lift one another up and support each other. Yes there are days where I look in the mirror and want to change aspects of myself, just like everyone else, but that only means I need to work hard and that is nothing to be ashamed of. I am happy with who I am inside and out but I always want to work to be better and make myself the best version of me. In my experience I say as long as you are healthy and happy then you have nothing to be ashamed of.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
Honored. If you had told me 10 years ago I would be where I am at or who I am I am not sure I would believe you. I had such low self confidence at the age of 13 that I never would have believed you when you said I looked at myself differently, let alone be using my story to help other girls. I know what it’s like to be bullied and go through things that beat you down over and over again, both physically and figuratively, but I also know what it’s like to come out on the other side and on top. So being able to take what I have been through to inspire and help others is truly honoring and humbling to me.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
Just be myself. I believe in complete transparency. The best strategy is to go out on that stage and put your all into in!
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
Practice, practice practice! I work on everything from my walk to my speaking skills. I run through mock interviews just as much as I run through my talent. And I never end the day without at least a small workout out to stay on top of my game.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
Relax! I used to always be so stiff and rigid but after some hep from Jackie Schiffer I have been practicing on moving my hips more and standing up straight, but not be so straight that you become a robot. You want to extend and grow and move in fluid motions.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
Wear whatever you feel confident in. It doesn’t matter what color or style you wear as long as you know you are going to be able to own that stage the moment you step out on it.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Be yourself. That is my number one tip in general. If you can’t be yourself in from of that panel of judges, you won’t be able to be yourself in the public eye as a titleholder either. It can be nerve-racking but as long as you speak slowly and clearly and answer everything honestly you have nothing to worry about.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
I think my biggest regret would be not preparing more last year. I feel like let year it all came as a last minute rush to me. That’s why this year I am taking the bull by the horns and making sure I am 100000% my best me on that stage and I can’t wait!
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
I think being unprepared is the biggest mistake you can make. Competing in a pageant is a lot of work and holding a title is even more work. I think you need to be prepared for what you are walking into. You need to be ready to take on the full responsibility of what it means to compete and how you are going to handle he pressure that comes along with the opportunity should you take home that crown.
World Class Beauty Queens: Any modeling or acting experience?
Yes! As a kid I was apart of two musical theater companies in Pittsburgh. I am a classically trained singer and to this day I still take vocal lessons. I am actually signed with Flaunt Model Management in NYC as a Plus Size model. I only recently signed with them in the beginning of January of 2020, so that is a new experience train that I am excited to be on!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2020 as a Queen?
My plans for 2020 as a Queen include making it to that Miss America stage! I am on a mission to become Miss America because I truly believe that I am the best candidate for the job. I am ready and I am going full throttle to hit my goal!
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I want to be able to leave a legacy that paves the way for other girls to become Miss America and hold other pageant titles. I want girls of all heights and size to be able to be confident enough in themselves to not be afraid to try something new. I want to be able to say I have changed lives for the better. Whether that be one life or one thousand lives. It only takes one to make a difference and every voice counts. So, I am doing everything I can to make my voice stand out and putting as much good as I possible can into the world.
National Director: Miss America Leadership Team and Board of Directors
State Director: Deborah Butcher
Your Local Director: Charles Kasko and Dawn Cinti
Pageant website: Local: Nepapageant.com State: Misspa.org National: Missamerica.org World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this amazing interview.
Robyn Kass-Gerji Miss Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2020, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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