Kris Gonzalez walks into a room and lights it up with her smile, her elegant posture, and her unwavering confidence.

The Ada Native was treated to a send-off Friday, March 12 at Ada Aesthetics, as she prepares to travel to Las Vegas to participate in the Miss for America competition.

The traditional Miss America pageant is for women 18 to 24 who are unmarried and don’t have children. The Miss for America pageant, created in 2019, is for unmarried women 18 and older who can have children or be divorced.

"I am back in Ada," Gonzalez said. "I grew up here. I spent my junior high days, my high school days here. I went to East Central and graduated with a marketing degree.

"I wanted to come back and speak to everyone, hug everyone, especially since I am off to Vegas for Miss for America," Gonzalez said. "Today we just wanted to get our family together, and in Ada, everyone is your family. We wanted to rally around, take some photos, send me off with love and prayer and blessings. So I'm excited to be back."

The pandemic has repeatedly pushed the competition dates back.

"I was meant to compete in October, and then I was meant to compete in January," Gonzalez added with a laugh. "Finally, we got the dates set in March. It is still there. We did only get two tickets per contestant because of Las Vegas' COVID guidelines, but they are slowly opening, and we now have four, so my parents, my sister, and my niece all get to be inside. Everyone else gets to watch from the lobby."

Gonzalez said she leaves March 18, and will be in Las Vegas for 10 days. Preliminary competition is March 25, and finals are March 26. The event should be streamed on https://missforamerica.com/.

"I wouldn't be here without my Ada family," Gonzalez added. "It's just been a journey of support and love, and I truly think back and know that I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for everyone rooting for me."

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