Kayla Gathright, US Navy, Miss Oregon for America Strong 2022
Roaring Adventures sits down with Kayla Gathright, the current Miss Oregon for America Strong and currently serving in the US Navy, Boatswain's Mate Second Class.
What is your current title? And what made you decide to run for Miss Oregon?
My current title is Miss Oregon for America Strong. I first decided to run for
Miss Oregon for America as a way of getting comfortable with the
uncomfortable. To rediscover and redefine myself as not just a person, but
as a woman. To take back my independence and individuality after escaping an extremely toxic situation and environment. I first ran in 2021, while I didn’t win that year, I learned and grew SO much and realized I had more to give to not just the sisterhood, but to the community, and decided
to run again in 2022. I went full force and can say the hard work paid off as soon as I heard my name as being the 2022 Miss Oregon for America Strong.
What have you learned throughout your reign or what has surprised you most
What I have learned throughout my reign is the importance and
value of authenticity. Being authentic, honest and true to your core values.
Standing your ground on who you are. With this learned lesson, it brought
the pleasant surprise of positive benefits. For instance, standing my
ground on not intentionally covering my tattoos. Showing my pride for
serving in the military, and even being the first active service member to
win this title in Oregon. Through this, I have been able to break barriers
within the pageant community in promoting more tattoo acceptance and
showing that you can wear a crown, gown and heels as well as combat boots and a uniform.
What branch of the military do you serve and how long? I currently serve in the U.S. Navy. I have been serving for over 6 ½ years. A few things called me to serve. First being my Great Grandfather. He served in the Navy during World War 2 at the age of 15, making him one
of the youngest sailors at that time. His ship was in the shipyards at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked and survived. This was inspiring to me, and in turn made me realize I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, to be part of the greater good.
How do you see the military support or impact families considering growing their
While I don’t have a family of my own yet, I see that family growth and the
challenges faced in doing so among service members isn’t talked about
enough. It’s almost taboo. I love that there is now a non-profit like Roaring
Adventures that’s helping break the stigma and providing a platform for
military families to start having those conversations. Knowing that what we
deal and come into contact with can cause fertility issues, yet there is a
solution for those who still want to strive for growing their families.
What is your platform and what opportunities have you had to support other
My platform is The Fallen Outdoors. This is a non-profit organization for
veterans and active duty to come together and network with one another
while being in the great outdoors. The mission is to combat the 22 a day
suicide rate in the military community. Being an avid outdoorsman, and being a service member, I see the positive benefits of maintaining the comradery and being in the outdoors doing any kind of activity can have on one’s mental health. This is something I have been advocating for.
What are you looking forward to with the upcoming pageant on May 6th, 2023?
What I am most looking forward to is first and foremost seeing all the
ladies! I haven’t had many opportunities to visit with or even meet them all in person due to needing to meet the needs of the Navy throughout my reign. I am equally excited to see who gets crowned. This year’s group of women are stellar! I am looking forward to is being able to look back and reflect on my reign. Take a step back and look at all that has been accomplished.
I set out to break stereotypes within the pageant community, to break barriers when it comes to tattoos and their acceptance. I can confidently, and proudly take my final walk and say “Job well-done; mission accomplished.”
Thank you Kayla for all of your support and time with Roaring Adventures, the incredible work and service you provide our communities and country. We are truly grateful and look forward to seeing you crown the incoming Miss Oregon America Strong 2023 on May 6th!
If you would like to attend the upcoming pageant event, Roaring Adventures will also be in attendance both to volunteer and share our mission in serving first responders and active military facing infertility. It is such a pleasure and privilege serve alongside of incredible organizations like the Mrs Oregon America and Miss Oregon for America Strong Pageant.