Birmingham native wins Miss Oakland County title

By: Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published July 21, 2015

 Kaitlyn Krizanic, 21, of Birmingham, took home the Miss Oakland County crown July 12.

Kaitlyn Krizanic, 21, of Birmingham, took home the Miss Oakland County crown July 12.

Photo provided by Kaitlyn Krizanic

BIRMINGHAM — Seaholm High school alumna Kaitlyn Krizanic has competed in a whopping 15 pageants. She never took home a title until she entered the one contest that mattered to her the most.

“I’m Birmingham born and raised,” said the newly crowned Miss Oakland County. “This is where my heart lies.”

The 21-year-old University of Michigan-Dearborn student took home the crown July 12 at the annual pageant held at Farmington Hills’ Costick Center. Along with the sparkling headpiece and $1,000 in scholarship cash to go toward her business administration degree, Krizanic took home the chance to compete in next year’s Miss Michigan pageant. If she snags that title, too, she’ll move on to the famed Miss America contest, the largest scholarship provider in the country for women ages 17-24.

“It’s been a really exciting experience so far,” Krizanic said just days into her reign. She took time away from her internship with General Motors in their Cadillac Sales Incentive department to chat.

She explained that when she began competing in pageants, it was “second nature” for her to advocate against youth drug and alcohol abuse as her platform. Since the eighth grade, Krizanic has been an active member of the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, a nonprofit devoted to preventing drug and alcohol abuse among students through awareness and substance-free activities. She now serves as one of the group’s student-athlete project coordinators.

“(That group) tries to target events and our message towards athletes,” she said. “Somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of students in our area are involved in athletics, and a lot of times those athletes are the leaders in their school and leaders in their community. They have a lot more pull with the general population, so if they’re the ones making good choices, it could have a trickle-down effect and you’ll see a decrease in substance abuse numbers as a whole.”

Krizanic said she’s seen friends and family make wrong choices before when it comes to drug abuse and drinking, and she made the decision some time ago when her sister would be entering high school to become a role model for her and other younger students.

“I really wanted to make sure she could grow up in a school where she wouldn’t be pressured to do drugs or alcohol. She or anyone shouldn’t have to be placed in a situation where they have to make that decision, and they’ll make the right choice if they know the consequences,” she said.

Coalition Executive Director Carol Mastroianni said she got goosebumps just talking about how proud she is of Krizanic and the impressive young adult she’s become.

“I have been blessed to see her transform into this dynamic, poised, thoughtful, strong, creative young lady over the years. She started on our Youth Action Board in high school, having a voice and presence for her peers on issues teens face with a primary focus on substance abuse prevention,” said Mastroianni. “Kaitlyn is someone who is changing the world for the better.”

Francesca Tuzzolino, executive director of Miss Oakland County, an all-volunteer organization, said she’s had a great time so far working with Krizanic when it comes to community outreach opportunities and preparations toward the Miss Michigan pageant.

She added that Krizanic will have ample opportunities to promote the organization’s platform, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, as well as her personal mission to educate young people about the dangers of substance abuse.

“Ladies like Kaitlyn who are passionate about their platform and usually have done a lot of things before this are usually very excited to get out there in the community and implement the goals of their personal platform,” Tuzzolino said. “This is a job for them. It’s not just a crown.”

To learn more about the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition, visit www.bbcoalition.org.