Ralphie Report: Ashley Schmider will represent PA in the Miss America pageant and these two hometown items are on her mind
Ashley Schmider will represent the Keystone State as “Miss Pennsylvania” in Sunday’s Miss America competition, airing live on ABC from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. The Duquesne University graduate was born in South Fayette but works in Philadelphia, so she is familiar with both sides of the state.
However that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have loyalty to a particular side of Pennsylvania, at least in regards to football.
“Definitely the Steelers,” Schmider quickly replied when I asked which NFL franchise she pledged allegiance too. I caught up with the Miss America contender last week in Times Square, following all 52 contestants’ appearance on “Good Morning America.”
“Even though I live in Philadelphia now, I can’t turn on my hometown team,” she insisted.
As trivial a topic as it may be, her honesty and loyalty are refreshing. Schmider threw me for yet another loop when I presented the cheesesteak options of Jim’s or Geno’s.
“Jim’s! That’s my favorite!”
The South Street staple is a favorite of mine as well; the location is quite convenient as I’ve found myself many times covering concerts just a few doors down at the venerable TLA.
Schmider’s platform extends far beyond pigskin and Philly cheesesteaks. The titleholder is employed by KPMG, a big four accounting firm. And Schmider is using her brawn to empower others with a program called, “Strong Women, Strong Girls.”
“It’s a mentoring organization I’ve been involved with for the past six years,” she said. “It pairs college women with inner-city school girls. We just try to raise their aspirations…because self esteem peaks at age 9. So we really try to get in there early and grow these girls to be strong women for tomorrow.”
Schmider waxed about her main platform with as much gusto as her pro football rooting interests, all on a hot and early morning in Midtown Manhattan.
“It’s so exciting,” Schmider said of the experience. “I’m so happy to be a part of the 95th anniversary class of Miss America.”
She will probably be even happier if it is Pennsylvania that can end the streak of the past three pageant winners hailing from New York. Schmider will attempt to become the fifth woman from PA to wear the Miss America crown and the first since 1953.
The 2016 Miss America competition airs live on Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. Celebrity judges include Zendaya, Brett Eldridge and “Shark Tank” star Kevin O’Leary. Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet will host. And no stranger to performing or co-hosting pageants, Nick Jonas will help out with Miss America as the competition’s music curator.
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