Sunday, December 9, 2007

Jill Stevens

I've never been much of a fan of "beauty pageants", but I will be watching the Miss America Pageant next month (January 26, 2008) and rooting for Miss Utah Sgt Jill Stevens. She has two missions. One as a Soldier in the Utah National Guard and the other as Miss Utah 2007.
A YouTube feature about her:

For the past 6 years, Jill Stevens has been serving in the US Military as a Combat Medic in the Utah National Guard, while earning her degree in Nursing at Southern Utah University. In November 2003, Jill was deployed to Afghanistan, returning home in April 2005. She has earned 5 medals for her outstanding service. In addition to her US Military service, Jill recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Nursing program at Southern Utah University on a four-year leadership scholarship. Last summer, she placed 3rd in the Cinco De Mayo Sailboat Regatta in Mexico, and this summer, Jill was chosen one of four women for the “Women of Strength” featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine September/October 2007 issue. Additionally, Jill has been a fitness instructor for Gold’s Gym for several years, as well as a bread baker for Great Harvest. Possibly one of the most unusual adventures for Jill though, has been her unexpected experience in becoming Miss Utah 2007, and looking forward to her national competition in the Miss America Pageant in January 2008.

A recent Newsweek story about Jill:

The Military's Miss America Candidate
By Linda Fantin

Newsweek Web Exclusive
Dec 6, 2007
While serving as a combat medic in Afghanistan, Sgt. Jill Stevens could always count on her Army buddies to shield her from the less sensitive aspects of a mostly male military. The soldiers, she says, developed a warning system. Off-putting jokes, racy movies and stories filled with foul language were introduced as "NFS": Not for Stevens.
Until a few months ago the Miss America Pageant would have carried the same disclaimer. Now here she is, Miss Utah, a self-described klutz in heels, competing for a crown that symbolizes femininity and well on her way to becoming the crowd favorite.
So many military members are expected to attend the Jan. 26 finale in Las Vegas that Art McMaster, president and CEO of the Miss America Organization, mused that the televised event could resemble a USO show.
"Jill has the advantage of bringing in a big support team," McMaster says, noting that Las Vegas is only a five-hour drive from Salt Lake City. "That's exciting."
Stevens is not the first Miss America to work in the military. Miss Tennessee 1992, Miss California 1992 and Miss New York 2001 all had credentials in the service, according to pageant officials. But Stevens is the first to serve in a combat zone—and the first to enjoy the benefit of such public support from Uncle Sam, an asset that provides a boost as the big night draws near. "I love it. These guys are like brothers and, once again, they've got my back," Stevens says.
It was the Army's idea for Stevens, 24, to chronicle the journey from Stars and Stripes to star of tomorrow on a blog titled G.I. Jill , she says. Same goes for the profile in this month's Soldiers magazine, an official Army publication.
Stevens enlisted three months before her high-school graduation and six months before the 9/11 attacks. Even then her parents worried that the military might change her. "My personality is fun and goofy, and they thought the Army would take that away," she says. But once in Afghanistan Stevens took on the role of morale booster, surprising despondent soldiers with bread made with a bread machine her mother shipped to her and birthday cakes baked in an oven constructed from aircraft parts. She held muffin-eating contests and staged Family Feud game show nights. She even planned the occasional girls' night out for the 30 or 40 females on the base. "That was the first time I ever painted my nails," she says.
Complete story at:

Jill's blog:

Jill's Photos at:

Other YouTube stories about Jill Stevens:
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Part 2:

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Part 8:

Part 9:

Part 10:

Part 11:

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