When Kailee Horvath is not putting out fires, she is competing in beauty pageants, and this past weekend she took the crown in the Miss Virginia USA pageant which was held at George Mason University.
It was her sixth time competing for the crown, and this time she got it.
“Year after year, I got so close,” Horvath said. “All this hard work finally paid off.”
“It’s really exciting and really shocking for me.”
Horvath said she believed she impressed the judges with her perseverance and with her service to her community as a firefighter with the Ashburn Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department in Loudoun County.
The fire department recognized Horvath on social media, congratulating her and noting that she’s been a volunteer there since her senior year of high school in 2017.
“I get to make an impact directly in the lives of others,” Horvath said of working with the department, adding that her father and older brother are part of the firefighter community.
“I grew up around the fire service,” Horvath said.
There are relatively few female firefighters.
Horvath said she’s proud to be among the roughly 11% of volunteer firefighters in the U.S. who are women.
“I always say that the reason why you win (beauty pageants) has nothing necessarily to do with how you look,” Horvath said. “It’s more your heart and how you present the information in your story.”
Horvath now goes on to represent Virginia in the Miss USA pageant later this year. A date and location have not been announced yet.
“A lot of it is preparation leading up to it, months and months of working hard toward making sure that I can present the best possible version of myself,” Horvath said. “I’m grateful just to have the opportunity to be at that level.”
Horvath is also a nursing student at Marymount University in Arlington.