Marshall student crowned Miss West Virginia USA

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Marshall student crowned Miss West Virginia USA

Desmond Groves

Desmond Groves

Desmond Groves

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Nichole Greene is a daughter of Marshall and was crowned this year’s Miss West Virginia USA. Greene is from Charleston.

Greene will head to the Miss USA Pageant sometime next year, but for right now, wants to focus on school, her makeup line and her duties as Miss West Virginia USA.

Greene is a senior double major in English literature and communications with a minor in history.

Greene is the first Marshall student to win this title since 2009. Greene said the moment was surreal.

“It felt like it happened so slow,” Greene said. “I was holding hands with one of my best friends who also does pageants. We’ve grown up together and we went to watch the Miss USA Pageant in Baton Rouge this past year, so if I had to be up there with anyone else I just couldn’t imagine anyone other than Lauren Roush. We were sitting there, holding hands and it was just the happiest, most surreal moment of my life.”

Greene is passionate about breast cancer awareness and promoting literacy. While holding her title, Greene said she wants to encourage others in multiple ways.

“I want to encourage others to read,” Greene said. “Something I can’t wait to get involved in is going to classrooms and reading to students. Anything like that I will love. Where it’s October and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, I’m going to have a lot of appearances coming up. I’m going to galas and things like that just to raise awareness for breast cancer.”

Breast cancer is an issue that Greene is familiar with; Greene’s godmother was diagnosed with breast cancer over three and a half years ago.

“It’s something that just personally affected me and my family, but turned into something I’m really passionate about,” Greene said. “I want to help women be aware and know how to do breast exams and be aware of their bodies and just really knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer so we can prevent it, because that is what ultimately saved my godmother’s life. I want to make sure women know about their bodies.”

The Miss USA pageant location hasn’t been announced yet, but judging on pageants past, this year’s location will most likely be relatively well-known.

“It just started, but I cannot wait to be on that stage,” Greene said. “I’m just kind of thinking right now of all the possibilities of what Miss USA is going to be like. What my dress is going to look like, who and where it’s going to be because we don’t even know a date or location yet, so I’m excited. WME/IMG, one of the biggest modeling and talent agencies in the world bought Miss USA and the Miss Universe organization, so I’m really excited for changes and the new direction of Miss Universe and Miss USA is going to go.”

Greene gets to pick her own clothes, which she said is about embracing yourself, your own personal style and projecting that style on the stage.

“There are certain designers that work in pageants like Sherry Hill, Mac Duggal, so I haven’t really decided yet,” Greene said. “The gown that I wore for Miss West Virginia USA was Sherry Hill. It was a green ball gown, which was kind of my own homage to Marshall and I think I might go in that direction, but I haven’t really decided yet because I’m still on cloud nine about Miss USA. But we will see.”

Greene has been competing in pageants since she was 13 years old. Greene’s first pageant victory was the Lewis County Fair Pageant.

“West Virginia has a system called the West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals, where all the different fairs and festivals from around the state come together,” Greene said. “There are usually about 80 or 90 that compete to be the State Fair Queen or Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals. So that’s what I started out in, competing in that for about five years, and I finally won on the fifth try and that is what kind of brought me to Miss West Virginia. I was Miss West Virginia Association of Fairs and Festivals in 2013, and I traveled 4,613 miles around the state and it really made me fall in love again with the state of West Virginia and really made me want to represent West Virginia on a national level as Miss West Virginia USA.”

Greene said she’s received an overwhelming amount of support not just from Huntington, but from all over the state.

“I was so, so happy to see people all over Facebook. People reached out to me all over the state welcoming me,” Greene said. “You never know what people are going to think or say, but everyone has been so nice and accommodating. I can’t wait to get these appearances in and really just be able to travel and see everything that West Virginia has to offer and really celebrate what makes us so unique as a state.”

Greene said she is ready for her journey to begin, and although she is an English literature major, Greene said she is extremely passionate about makeup and being a makeup artist.

“I’ve done makeup my entire college career,” Greene said. “It’s actually how I paid for college and I will graduate debt free, which is really exciting. I do have my own business and I am a makeup artist full time, so what I would ultimately like to do is create my own cosmetic line. It sounds a little crazy, but I want it to be something all women can use, but specifically women who are battling breast cancer and going through breast cancer treatments. My godmother, when she did have cancer, she lost her eyelashes, her hair and her eyebrows. Really everything that makes you feel feminine and beautiful as a woman, so I want women who are battling to feel normal. They can put a little blush on and put that lipstick on. Something like that, something that simple, but it gives you confidence to get through the day. That’s what I want my company to be about.”

Senior exercise physiology major at West Virginia University and titleholder of the Princeton Autumn Festival, Morgan Kesecker said she thinks Greene will represent West Virginia well.

“She will definitely put in the effort in going around our state and doing charitable events and being a great role model to others,” Kesecker said. “I’m happy because she’s worked hard the entire year and she’s a genuine person who truly deserves it.”

Greene said she wants to represent the state in the most positive way.

“Really, I just want to embrace everything this journey has to offer,” Greene said. “I have one year to be Miss West Virginia USA and I want to make the most of those 365 days. I want to be approachable, someone that’s real so little girls can come up to me and feel like I am really listening and understanding them. I want to encourage West Virginians to embrace what it means to be a West Virginian. I think there are so many stereotypes and things that go against us as a culture and as a state, and I really want to break those stereotypes and let the world know that we are here and we are an awesome, extraordinary state.”

Desmond Groves can be contacted at [email protected]

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