At the age of 17, Stephanie Ramos became a victim of extreme cyber-bullying. Her self-esteem was shattered, and she dreaded going to school each day. In a final attempt to renew her happiness and confidence, Ramos entered her first pageant. She would later declare the decision “saved my life.” Today, the Eastern Kentucky University senior proudly stands as Miss Kentucky United States.
Ramos was crowned in Bowling Green on Feb. 26, which also coincided with her 24th birthday. She will go on to compete for Miss United States on July 8 in Orlando, Florida.
Surprisingly, Miss Kentucky had little to no interest in pageants before her senior year of high school, when the cyber-bullying peaked. “It got to the point where I didn’t want to leave my house. I had no self-confidence.”
One afternoon, Ramos received a letter stating that she had been anonymously recommended for a pageant. The document mentioned that it was a great opportunity for girls to gain self-esteem.
Her decision to enter that pageant would change her life forever.
After her experiences with cyberbullying in 2011, Ramos “knew that it was my purpose to create a voice for all those who have been cyber-bullied.”
She created her platform, “Preventing Cyber-Bullying – Stop the Hate before It’s Too Late.” It afforded her the opportunity to speak about cyberbullying at several schools throughout the Commonwealth.
Along with pageantry, Ramos is equally passionate about physical fitness and dance. At the age of 21, she opened her own dance studio, Lancaster Dance Center. She is on track to graduate in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in physical wellness, and hopes to expand her studio into a national chain that targets low-income communities.
Ramos said she wants to give children “who have not been exposed to the arts an opportunity to fulfill their dreams without worrying about the cost.”
She is currently involved with several organizations that help low-income children such as Ronald McDonald Charities of the Bluegrass, Children’s Miracle Network and Red Carpet Events (an organization dedicated to volunteer at various community service events for low-income families throughout Kentucky).
The Danville native also co-founded the “Dare to Dream Pageant” for children with special needs; the event covers all expenses for the contestants, including gowns.
Ramos added that her experiences at EKU allowed her to discover who she is and what she wants to do with her life. It was here she found her calling in helping children, an endeavor she hopes to continue throughout her term as Miss Kentucky.
To follow Ramos’ journey to Miss United States, find her on Facebook at “Miss Kentucky United States” and Instagram @misskentuckyUS17.
-- by Yasmin White, Student Writer, EKU Communications & Brand Management