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Although 23-year-old Elle Smith had never entered a beauty pageant, in May 2021 she entered and won the Miss Kentucky pageant. Six months later, the University of Kentucky graduate and former WHAS TV reporter was crowned Miss USA 2022.
Plenty has been written about her rapid rise to the top, but we wanted to know more about what life is like behind the scenes for this beauty queen. So here are five rapid-fire questions with Miss USA.
Behind-the-scenes: How Miss USA Elle Smith used this little secret to get that crown
Now that you are Miss USA, who is the famous person you'd most like to meet?
Elle Smith: Oh my, the list is long but off the top of my head, I would really like to meet Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce and Shaquille O'Neal.
How does Miss USA decompress at the end of a busy day?
Smith: The minute I get home, I immediately pull my hair up, throw on sweatpants and my favorite Ugg slippers and attempt to cook. Then I lay in bed and I watch Netflix. Right now I am watching "Hype House."
During your yearlong reign as Miss USA, is there an item you'll travel with to remind you of home?
Smith: Unless I am doing a photoshoot, I am always wearing two rings, one that belonged to my great-grandfather and another that belonged to my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother's ring is passed down to the first granddaughter of each generation. They are both very special to me and remind me of home.
What height are the tallest heels you've worn and what's the secret to walking in them gracefully?
Smith: I recently wore six-inch heels and the secret to walking in them without tripping is practice, practice, practice. If you had come by my apartment at 2 a.m. before Miss USA, you would have seen me walking and walking in my dress and my heels.
Which is heavier, the Miss Kentucky or the Miss USA crown?
Smith: Well, the Bluegrass State will always be in my heart but as far as which crown is heavier to wear, definitely Miss USA, because it's real. According to the jeweler who created the 2022 Miss USA crown, it is made of 18-karat gold and set with white diamonds, featuring motifs of petals, leaves, and vines. It also includes rubies, blue tanzanite gemstones, and blue sapphires.
Reach Kirby Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @kirbylouisville.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Miss USA Elle Smith: A Q&A with the former Miss Kentucky