The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Newly-crowned Miss DFW and SMU student Devin Kerns is not just a pretty face

Devin K 190.jpeg
SMU senior and Miss DFW Devin Kerns is set to compete in the Miss Texas pageant this summer (Photo credit: Simon Hurst Photography).

Devin Kerns was just five years old when she sang “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” in her first beauty pageant at the Payne County Fair in Stillwater, Oklahoma. When it came time to sing the line “root, root, root for the home team,” she had a tough time pronouncing the r’s.

One day, that little blonde girl would be crowned Miss DFW.

Currently a senior communications major and a member of the Chi Omega sorority at Southern Methodist University, Kerns, 22, competed in the Miss DFW pageant on Feb. 8 against 11 other contestants from around Texas.

“It felt awesome,” said Kerns, who speaks fluent Italian. “I was just psyched.”

Kerns’ current title, Miss DFW, is affiliated with the Miss America organization, a scholarship pageant founded in the 1920s. When contestants win an affiliated pageant, they automatically advance to the Miss Texas pageant. The winner if the Miss Texas pageant will then participate in the Miss America pageant, which is expected to be held in September in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Kerns was also named Miss Northwest Tarrant County in February of 2014. She participated in the Miss Texas pageant after that win. Now that she is Miss DFW, Kerns will vie once more for the Miss Texas crown.

The contest will be held from June 27 to July 4 in Richardson, where more than 50 young women are expected to compete.

Although she appears to be the picture of poise and elegance, this self-proclaimed “nerd” is a down-to-earth young woman who enjoys good food, reading true-crime novels and attending concerts. She’s also someone who wants to make cyberspace a no-bullying zone.

“I was cyber-bullied in high school,” said Kerns. “I was so humiliated.”

Miss America system participants arrive with a platform or a cause that contestants choose to bring awareness to. Kerns’ platform, “staying social media savvy,” educates young people about how to be aware of and prevent cyber-bullying.

To help spread the word and to bring awareness to the issue, Kerns talks to numerous community groups.

Kerns has participated in about 20 pageants over the years. For the Miss DFW talent portion of the pageant, she sang the song “Gimme, Gimme” from the Broadway production “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

“I have had the most training in classical voice,” said Kerns, who began singing at the age of 10. “However, I have quite a bit of experience in Broadway.”

After graduating from SMU, Kerns hopes to attend law school and become a criminal prosecutor. She interned for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office last semester.

Kerns, who will receive minors in Italian and Law and Legal Reasoning in addition to her Communication major, stands out among her peers not only in pageants, but in school.

SMU Director of the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility Rita Kirk knows the beauty queen very well. Kerns assisted Kirk in her research with CNN during the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

“Devin consistently exceeds my expectations,” said Kirk. “Her communication skills and the coursework she completes are, without a doubt, outstanding.”

Emily Towler, a close friend of Kerns, believes that the beauty queen is a triple-threat.

“She’s multifaceted. She’s a great student, a talented singer and an ambitious worker,” said the SMU junior. “She isn’t catty or just a pretty face.”

Tailor Cook, also a friend of Kerns and a fellow pageant participant, thinks so too. Kerns was one of the first Cook considered as a bridesmaid for her upcoming wedding.

“From doing Pitbull impersonations to doing ridiculous selfies in serious meetings, I can’t think of a better girl to be Miss Texas,” said Cook. “But, more importantly, a friend for life.”

Kerns gives most of the credit for her success to her mother, Susan Kerns, who continues to be one of the most influential people in her life.

So what’s her secret for pageant success? Kerns thinks it’s all in how you carry yourself.

“A lot of it is about confidence,” said Kerns. “It’s all about showing off who you are, and I try to be as much of a positive role model as possible.”

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