Kira Kazantsev is an advocate on women’s issues, personal branding expert, keynote speaker, celebrity golfer and popular blogger. She served as Miss America 2015.

Kira has appeared on “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson”, “Live with Kelly and Michael”, “Jimmy Kimmel”, “Access Hollywood”, “Extra”, “Inside Edition”, and thousands of local news outlets. Kira has presented awards at the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music, American Country Countdown, and the Billboard Music Awards. She also participated in HuffPost Live’s “Domestic Violence Awareness: Making Campuses Safe” panel.

For more about Kira visit: kirakazantsev.com or follow Kira at Twitter / Instagram & Snapchat (@kirakazantsev)

During her year as Miss America, she served as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, advocated on behalf of her personal platform: Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence, and was the first Miss America since 1971 to travel overseas, including Afghanistan, Bahrain, and South Korea with the USO to visit our troops.

As an advocate against domestic violence, Kira has been a long time partner with Safe Horizon, the largest provider of Domestic Violence services in the country. She was honored by Safe Horizon with their Voice of Empowerment award alongside actor and activist Alan Cumming, serves on their Leaders on the Horizon board, and together, they created the #PutTheNailInIt campaign, which encourages people to paint their left ring fingernail purple to show their support against Domestic Violence and put the nail in domestic violence for good. The national #PutTheNailInIt campaign PSA continues to be featured on the discovery channel.

You were Miss America 2015. Tell us about that and what was your reaction when you heard the news?

I was the third Miss New York in a row to be crowned Miss America, so you can imagine when I was competing I faced a fair amount of doubt. However, it only fueled my fire and in the end nothing could stop me. It was an incredible moment when Chris Harrison said the words “It’s a threepeat!”

How was the next day after you were Miss America?

The first day after Miss America was an absolute whirlwind. Starting with the traditional toe dip in the ocean for the press early in the morning, then press conferences and interviews all day and off to New York City for a press tour. No sleep and lots of excitement!

What responsibilities did you have after the contest?

As Miss America, you serve as the National Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, visiting many of their 170 member hospitals across North America. I advocated on behalf of my personal platform “Love Shouldn’t Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence” and I also traveled around the world with the USO visiting our troops abroad. You are in a different city every 2 days and travel about 20,000 miles a month to various events. They keep you busy!

Any advice to girls who want to participate in Miss America contests?

Be yourself! It’s much harder to be something that you’re not so what’s the point? Have fun, relax, make friends, and enjoy!

Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?

My parents of course. They came to this country in 1990 and sacrificed so much to give their kids a better life. Today, I am able to go after all of my goals and dreams because of them.

Name one your strengths?

Perseverance

Do you have a role model?

Several! Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York. Gloria Steinem. Heidi Klum. Vanessa Williams.

How did you stay fit?

I do mobile workouts from my trainer Scott Keppel (Scott’s Training Systems) and I try and maintain a healthy (ish) diet with lots of lean proteins and greens. I do a lot of traveling so it’s important for me to be able to make a workout happen even if I don’t have access to a gym.

Best advice ever given?

Drop the guard and show your heart.

Who’s your favorite designer?

I have many! But I love Alice and Olivia, For Love and Lemons, Patricia Bonaldi, Marchesa, Kate Spade, Vera Wang, and many more!

3 things you cant live without?

My family, my cell phone, and cheese.

What beauty tips do you swear by?

Always wear sunscreen, take your makeup off, and exfoliate.

What are guilty pleasures food wise?

Pizza and ranch dressing, basically any pasta

How do you spend your spare time?

I don’t have much time, but I love to sit and binge a new show every once in a while.

What’s your favorite quote?

“There is a stubbornness about me that can never bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” –Jane Austen

Any future plans you want to share with us?

I’m currently living in LA pursuing an entertainment career in hosting and television. I’m excited to see which doors open and what the next 10 years look like!

Do you support any charity?

I work closely with Safe Horizon, the largest provider of Domestic Violence services in the country.

What’s your favorite show on T.V. right now?

I love Scandal, Game of Thrones, Empire, Jane the Virgin, Law and Order, and a bunch more. I can’t choose one!

Idea of a perfect Sunday?

Wine, cheese, good company and excellent weather!

What do you think of social media?

It’s really important for my work and my brand and I love to express myself through social media, not to mention following my friends and the celebrities I admire. It can also be a huge antagonist in my life as people often use social media to say rude and awful things about me online. However, if you can get past all of those sad people, at the end of the day, you win!

Where we can follow you?

Twitter: @KiraKazantsev
Instagram: @Kirakazantsev

Best book: Pride and Prejudice, Gone With the Wind, the Harry Potter Series

Food: Anything with Cheese

Restaurant: Superba on Lincoln Blvd in Venice, CA

Song: Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

Actor/Actress: Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon

Sports Team: Golden State Warriors

Morning, noon or night: Night

Travel Destination: I’ve never been to Australia and New Zealand so that is hopefully next on my list!