Pageants provide competitive outlet for SMU grad who works for dad’s NFL team
Even from Kansas, Gracie Hunt is doing the Park Cities proud.
Hunt, 22, was crowned Miss Kansas USA 2021 in April, but her Dallas ties run deep.
The SMU graduate is granddaughter of Lamar and Norma Hunt, and daughter of Kansas City Chiefs part-owner and CEO Clark Hunt, of Highland Park.
Gracie, who has competed for five years, was first exposed to the pageant world by her mother, Tavia Hunt.
“And what’s so funny is Miss Kansas USA was the first pageant I ever watched,” Gracie said. “My mom asked if I wanted to go watch it with her, because she was Miss Kansas USA 1993, and former title holders go and sometimes watch the pageant.”
“I’m going to make the most of this year to really spotlight different organizations people can get involved with.”Gracie Hunt
Before getting involved in pageantry, Hunt played soccer but had to quit after four concussions. Competing in pageants provided a competitive outlet for her, and she enjoys its social aspect, too.
“You make such amazing friends, and I think that’s truly the greatest blessing of it all,” Hunt said. “I’ve actually been a bridesmaid in two of my best friends’ weddings who I met through pageants. You end up meeting a lot of people who have similar interests, and most girls who compete in pageants are really driven.”
Hunt is grateful the pageant was able to take place in-person and followed social distancing guidelines to make competitors feel safe.
She will never forget the moment she was crowned.
“There were so many emotions going through my head,” Hunt said. “I could see my mom in the audience, and she was crying, and I was trying not to cry. It was just very sweet and I really am grateful for what an amazing experience it was for everyone.”
The moment was just as significant for Gracie’s mother who is excited to see what her daughter will do during her reign.
“She has worked tirelessly pursuing this dream and it’s extremely rewarding to see her hard work pay off,” Tavia said. “I’m overwhelmed with the joy of sharing this journey with her 28 years after I was crowned Miss Kansas USA. I know she will take every opportunity to serve others and spread her message of respect and inclusion this year.”
Gracie works in marketing and brand development for the Chiefs, while pursuing her master’s degree in sport management at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
She serves on the Special Olympics Texas board, works with anti-human trafficking nonprofit New Friends, New Life, and promotes respect and inclusion with her nonprofit, Breaking Barriers Through Sports.
“I’m going to make the most of this year to really spotlight different organizations people can get involved with,” Hunt said. “I think it’s a great way to use this platform to lift up other people because there’s so much need in this world and no one person can do it all. But we can all do something to make a difference.”
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