Could New York become the first state to have three back-to-back Miss Americas? "There's no pressure, but obviously I'm excited about the possibility," said the newest Miss New York Kira Kazantsev, 22.
Kira won the title Saturday and described the experience so far as a whirlwind. On Monday, she made her first official appearance representing the state at a Memorial Day parade in Staten island. "...Fulfilling this role is going to be a big job," she said of the responsibilities that come with the title.
Kira started out in the Natural American Miss program before taking part in her first Miss America Organization competition last year. This year, she held the title Miss City of New York.
The Hofstra University graduate calls Manhattan home and plans to attend Fordham Law School, though she will defer her enrollment while serving as Miss New York. She majored in political science, global studies and geography at Hofstra and plans to practice international law.
She is a first-generation American, the daughter of Russian immigrants, and recently visited Russia to see her family there. "My parents left for a better life," she said. "They gave up everything to make a better life for me and my little brother." Her recent trip, she said, made her even more appreciative of the opportunities she has. "It made me just appreciate the fact I am an American," she said.
Kira's talent is singing and her platform is Love Shouldn't Hurt: Protecting Women Against Domestic Violence. The issue is very personal for Kira, a victim of domestic violence when she was in college. "It was something that definitely changed me," she said. "I'm better now and I'm stronger now. I want to show others they can handle it too."

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