Sophomore Kayla Knock stood there on stage.
Her legs extended atop a pair of high heels as she waited to receive questions for the top five people competing for Miss Oregon.
“I was really nervous back when I started doing pageants, but I think the thing that terrified me the most was collapsing,” Knock said. “Once you have competed on stage, you have to stand in the background for 30 minutes and all these girls were telling me ‘do not lock your knees out because if you lock your knees out, you won’t get blood circulation to your feet.’”
And even though the girl next to her at one of the pageants actually fell, that did not stop Knock from competing.
Knock, who was born in Wisconsin, has lived in several states but chose to leave her current home in Nevada to attend Pacific University to swim and study public health.
She still competes for pageants as well.
Beginning at the age of 16, Knock has competed in several pageants, receiving fourth runner up in the Miss Oregon pageant last year.
Her biggest supporter: her mom.
“My mom was Miss Indiana, America back in the 1980s and she always wanted me to do pageants but she didn’t want me to do the Toddlers and Tiaras pageants. Those aren’t healthy for little girls’ self-esteem and it teaches them the wrong moral goals,” Knock said. “She wanted me to do it when I was 16 because I was very shy and she wanted me to work on my interviewing skills to apply for jobs and be more confident overall.”
Since Knock made the top five at the Miss Oregon pageant, a new director has taken over, requiring a local title before entering the pageant.
In order to get involved with the community more, Knock filled out the paperwork and gained the title of Miss Forest Grove last year.
“I am really lucky that I got to be Miss Forest Grove because I don’t think that I would have done as many activities around Oregon if I didn’t have the title,” Knock said.
Since then, she has done many things in preparation for the Miss Oregon pageant this upcoming November.
She worked on her walk, her interviewing skills and got a personal trainer over the summer.
“I am hoping this year I’ve done enough pageant preparation that I win and can give back to the community,” Knock said. “I can’t imagine not doing pageants now, I think it has really shaped who I am today.”
Aside from pageants, Knock enjoys baking gluten- free goodies, hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and swimming on Pacific’s swim team.
“She is very driven,” Head Swim Coach Alec Webster said. “I think you have to be in a sport like swimming and I would guess pageants as well. Both require a strict regiment of