by Lisa Moody Breslin | photography by Kelly Heck
A lifetime resident of Gettysburg, Kayla Repasky launched into beauty pageant life when she was 17 and a senior at Delone Catholic High School. Her first crown was Miss Hanover. Prior to competing for Miss America 2019, she captured the Miss Greater Carlisle crown and then the Miss Pennsylvania title. A dancer since the age of 3 and a member of the Hanover Children’s Ballet Theatre for 10 years, Repasky danced to “Every Breath You Take” in the Miss America 2019 competition. Hometown pride and a passion for promoting internet positivity as Miss Pennsylvania remain as she applauds Nia Franklin, Miss America 2019.
What prompted you to launch into the pageant world?
My very first pageant was the Miss Hanover Pageant. When picking out an evening gown at Renaissance Bridals in York, a lady asked me about competing in a Miss America local competition. I loved being in Miss Hanover so much that I decided to try it!
Before you started, how did you imagine the pageant life?
I admired the community service aspect of pageantry and loved to watch Miss America, but never even gave a thought that it would be a possibility for me one day!
How do you calm your nerves during competition?
When I get nervous my heart rate speeds up, so I try to focus on my breathing to slow it down and make me less nervous. I also have my go-to playlist that I listen to.
Do you carry anything with you for good luck?
I do not.
Now that you have won and spent time on the road as a winner, what are three adjectives that you would use to describe your life as Miss Pennsylvania?
Exciting, unpredictable, and rewarding. It is so exciting to make all different appearances across the state. Not always knowing what I’m walking into can be unpredictable, but being able to make a change in the lives of others is always rewarding!
You have championed some great causes. Which one are you currently most passionate about and active with?
I started my own nonprofit organization, Think First America, and have been able to raise $20,000 towards anti-bullying initiatives. I also get to talk to many kids across the state about how we together can combat bullying. I hope to have made a change and influenced as many people as I can to #ChooseKindness.
Your most rewarding moment as Miss Pennsylvania?
Before I won Miss Pennsylvania, I was able to help establish the Bryan Doll, Jr. Memorial Fund in honor of a young boy in my community who committed suicide due to being bullied. Being able to work with his family as Miss Pennsylvania and tell his story across the state has been the most rewarding.
If someone sees you as perfect, what personal vulnerability or weakness would you share to diffuse that perception of “she’s perfect”?
I share with them that I am just as much of a real person as they are. I have ups and downs, and good and bad days.
Your most awkward moment?
Practically being proposed to from a student during an appearance.
Your source of inspiration?
Others. Being able to talk to others and hear their stories influences me to try to make an even bigger change.
Family members you live with, including pets?
I live with my mom and dad and little brother when he’s home from college. No pets.
What were your favorite classes at Delone?
I loved Anatomy and Physiology. It’s one of the many reasons I decided to become a nurse!
One of your favorite memories at Delone?
Being inducted into the National Honor Society.
Where do you hope to be in five years and doing what?
Graduated with my Bachelor of Science at the University of Alabama and getting ICU experience at a Children’s Miracle Network hospital.
In 10 years?
Graduated with my Master’s of Science in Nursing as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and continuing to give back to the Miss Pennsylvania Scholarship Organization.
Any advice for young women who dream of entering pageants?
Go for it! All you have to do is make that first step and get started in your first local. Find ways to get involved in your community and practice your talent!