National stage awaits LHS grad
Aull leaves to compete for Miss USA
While many college students around the country were jetting off to exotic locations on spring break, Lansing's Ashley Aull was preparing to represent her state at the Miss USA Pageant in Baltimore on April 21.
Aull, 20 years old and tall, with blonde hair and blue eyes, has been preparing for the national pageant since being crowned Miss Kansas USA 2006 in November and is excited about the possibilities the pageant offers. As part of the first place prize, the winner will live in an apartment at Trump Towers in New York City during her title year. Donald Trump is the owner of the Miss Universe Organization that produces the pageant.
"If I win, I won't be coming back for a while," Aull said with a smile.
Aull now lives with her parents, Melanie and Alex, and her dogs, Muffin and Angel, in a Lansing and is in her second year of studies at Johnson County Community College.
While she will soon appear on a nationally televised live broadcast, Aull makes a conscious effort not to focus on the outcome or her nerves.
"I try not to worry about the outcome because if you do that, you won't enjoy the experience," she said. "I just want to take every day as it comes and whatever happens, happens."
Aull has spent her year making appearances, which have included reading to a class at Leawood Elementary School and attending a Christmas party at Sunflower House, a child abuse prevention center in Kansas City.
Aull learned from reading to the class that "something so small to me can make a huge impact on someone else."
Since November, Aull has been training for the national pageant with a regime that includes exercise, eating healthy and, of course, shopping. She does not diet but instead eats healthy meals that include protein and few carbohydrates and sweets. Aull trains with six one-hour cardio workouts and four weight sessions a week with support through e-mails and phone calls from her personal trainer Brian Attebery, who lives in Oklahoma and trains other Miss USA contestants in the Midwest.
"I feel like my life is working out," Aull said, referring to her multiple workouts. "It's like when I get to Baltimore, I'll be able to take a break."
Her mother, Melanie, also has helped by serving as her workout partner and shopping on the weekends for the numerous cocktail dresses, an evening gown and competition gown necessary for appearances before and during the pageant.
Aull left for Baltimore on April 2 and will spend the time until the pageant learning the choreography for the opening routine and taping introductions in various parts of the city with the 50 other contestants. All participants will take a trip to New York City for several days where they will attend a Donald Trump book launch and appear on national television programs such as "Live with Regis and Kelly" and "Total Request Live."
The Miss USA 2006 Pageant will be broadcast live on NBC at 7 p.m. CDT on April 21.