Saturday, May 18, 2013
Kelsey Wallace of Bethel Crowned Miss WEIO
Bethel-grown Kelsey Wallace was crowned Miss World Eskimo-Indian Olympics on Friday at the Carlson Center.
FAIRBANKS — Bethel-grown Kelsey Wallace was crowned Miss World Eskimo-Indian Olympics on Friday at the Carlson Center.
Wallace, a Yupik Eskimo, competed this year as Miss Kuskokwim. In full regalia, she wore a long, fur parka, mukluks, fur mittens and beaded fur crown.
She competed against four other young women this year, including runner-up Crystal Demientieff Worl of the Institute of American Indian Arts of Juneau and Fairbanks and second runner-up Katlyn Zuray, Miss Nuchalawayya of Tanana. Wallace earned first place in every title, including Most Traditional, Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality, and she tied for first place of Most Talented with Worl.
During the Impromptu speech portion of the contest, Wallace spoke of being true to her culture and to herself. She said she wants to be a role model to younger people and inspire others to become leaders.
“Being enthused, being loud and just being outgoing and everything, I believe I can really make a connection,” she said.
For the talent portion, Wallace performed a traditional Yupik song and dance, wearing an outfit consisting of pieces 30 to 60 years old. All items in her ensemble, except her dance fans, were made by a person who has passed away. Wallace said they represented her carrying on old traditions.
She said she is the first generation to learn traditional Yupik dances since the time of her great-grandfather.
She chose her talent performance “to dance for those whose dance was taken away,” she said.
On Monday, Wallace said she had been asked “How does it feel?” by many people since becoming Miss WEIO.
“After sleeping on it and everything ... It’s awesome,” she said.
“I’ve been coming to WEIO since I was 5,” Wallace explained. She remembers after seeing other WEIO queens, telling her dad, “I want to be like her when I’m older.”
“It was mostly about looks,” she said. Now she realizes, “It’s not only about the crown.”
She is excited to represent her culture and stand as a role model for others for the coming year, WEIO’s 50th.
Contact staff writer Reba Lean at 459-7523.