Laura Eiler, Ms. United States 2011, and Ashley Smith, Miss United States 2011, returned to Face Value Salon in Crozet July 29 after winning their titles in the week-long national pageant competition at the Orleans Resort and Casino in Las Vegas July 14. Miss Teen United States 2011 Ashley Greenfield was also expected, but fell ill. All three winners were the Virginia pageant winners, and their victories mark the first time ever that three national winners in the pageant’s four age categories have come from the same state. It was nearly a clean sweep as the Virginia contender in the age 13-15 group came in as first runner–up. Eiler is living in Richmond. Smith is from Virginia Beach and Greenfield is from Blacksburg.
Face Value Salon handled all the hairstyling and coloring, make-up and skin care for the four Virginia contenders. The Virginia pageant’s director, Chris Wilmer, lives in Crozet.
Eiler, who was born in Missouri, now directs the dance team for the Richmond Raiders arena football team. Unmarried (but spoken for), she was an NFL cheerleader for the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams for six years.
Coming out of the evening gown and swim suit competitions, she made it into the top eight finalists. In her on-stage interview she was asked if it’s a man’s world. “I said, no. Any man can tell you.
“I was really honored [to win],” Eiler said, smiling happily, her every movement showing practiced grace. “I was thrilled because Miss Virginia and Miss Teen Virginia also won. Miss was my roommate for the week. In this pageant you have a support group.
“We were well trained for the interview, but you have to have the intelligence and the personality.”
Her appearance calendar is being set up now. She will be throwing out the first pitch at a Kansas City Royals game in September. Her charity for the year is Let’s Move in Schools, a program that encourages kids to be active and healthy. She is hoping for a chance to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, who also supports the organization.
“I just want to make the most of this year,” she said. “Go big or go home.”
Wilmer credited Face Value Salon owner Lucinda Riley with knowing how to prepare the Virginia contestants. “She’s been very successful in the modeling industry all the way to Paris,” he said. “She gets it on every level. Once you reach that level you can’t help but get it. So for these girls to be able to come to here . . . .” He paused. “Three national winners has never been done before. Lucinda was an integral part of the team. I’ve lived internationally and to find this level here in Crozet is amazing.”