Friday, November 12, 2010

Welcome home, Miss World 2010!

Miss World winner, Alexandria Mills, returns to Louisville, vows to make city proud

By Tamara Ikenberg, The Courier Journal. November 11, 2010


Last month, Alexandria Mills, 18, was working at American Eagle in Louisville's Jefferson Mall. Now she’s Miss World.

Mills, a Shepherdsville native, returned on Wednesday from China, where the Miss World pageant was held. And Thursday morning she was honored as a distinguished citizen of Louisville, by Mayor Jerry Abramson in the Mayor’s Gallery at Metro Hall

"I don't think it's quite set in yet," Mills said. "When I catch a glimpse of myself (in the crown), it's still amazing to me."

Wearing a dazzling replica of the original crown, accented with turquoise and dark blue semi-precious stones, an elegant white dress and approximately five-inch, white patent-leather heels, the 5-foot-9 Mills looked every inch the international beauty queen. But she made it clear that she belongs to Louisville.
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"I wouldn't trade (home) for the world," she said. "I want to make Louisville proud."

She'll have a chance to represent the River City over the next year as she travels the world, meeting dignitaries and raising awareness for environmental and children's issues.

 
Miss World was the first beauty pageant Mills ever competed in. She was elected to participate by her modeling agency, Elite Modeling Management Miami, which works with the Miss World pageant to select the competitors.

Mills was discovered at a model search in New York City when she was 13 and has mostly appeared in swimsuit catalogs. Her interest in modeling dates to her days at Hebron Middle School, where school counselor Marla Squires recalled that Mills already had a photo portfolio.

Mills was home-schooled for high school, and intends to go to college after her Miss World duties are complete. She said she's not sure what school she wants to attend. She's considering environmental studies and broadcast journalism as majors.

"After her reign, we'll get her to go to UofL or UK," said Abramson, smiling.

Mills was joined at Thursday's event by her parents and her best friend, Rhiannon Jones, who all received keys to the city. Her mother, Susan, works at JC Penney at Jefferson Mall. Her father, Kenny, is employed by UPS. Mills' older brother Brad, who also works at UPS and goes to the University of Louisville, couldn't be there.

Susan Mills said she is still in awe of her daughter's achievement.

"I'm almost afraid to touch her when she's wearing her crown," she said, adding that she's happy Alexandria would be home for Thanksgiving.

The family will host Julia Morley, the chairwoman of the Miss World organization, for the holiday. Morley, who was also on hand for the mayor's presentation, described Alexandria as "spirited and bubbly. She's got a happy heart."

During the presentation, Mills shared some of her favorite experiences in China, including walking the Great Wall. "I'd done a report on the Great Wall in sixth grade," she said. "It was on my bucket list."

Mills has two weeks with her family and friends — but guys, there's no boyfriend — before she's whisked off to perform her Miss World duties. At the top of her Louisville to-do list is eating a cheese Papa John's pizza. Then she'll get some beauty sleep.

"I really need to relax and breathe a little bit," she said. 
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