Countdown to the Crown 2021!

Countdown to the Crown 2021!

Welcome back, everyone!

I'm so excited that I'm now officially less than 30 days away from competing for Mrs. Pennsylvania International! Perhaps the most exciting thing is that, for competition weekend, I'll be doing a LIVE IG TAKEOVER on TCC's Instagram! You'll get to go behind the scenes during what a pageant weekend actually looks like, meet contestants, and see all the glamour!

I started competing in pageants in 2019, and I found out what I probably should have been doing for the last decade plus of my life (yes, I consider it my "competitive sport", haha). For me, it's not about winning as much as it is about enjoying being on stage, giving back with my title, and--most importantly--the incredible, supportive friendships I've made along the way. 

On my official pageant social media, I've been doing a 30 day "Countdown to the Crown", a few snippets of which I'm excited to share here. Just like last year--my GORGEOUS gown is from TCC!


Emily Kenniston, Mrs. Reading International: Official Countdown to the Crown 2021!


  • My Headshot
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This beautiful headshot, taken by Lindsey Hart Photography and featuring makeup by Patrice Williams, is going to be featured on the official Pennsylvania International Pageant Banner in Altoona during pageant weekend!

  • Hometown
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So, to be honest, I was born in NJ. I lived there off and on (excepting one disastrous year in Minnesota) until I was 17, and I genuinely loved it. However, Pennsylvania has always felt like "my hometown" from the start, way back when my parents moved us here in 2005. Pictured below is the famous Pagoda building in Reading, which lights up at night so you can see it for miles!
Fun fact: It was shortly after we left NJ for PA that I discovered I wanted to try pageantry. A flyer for a Miss PA pageant ended up in our new-to-us mailbox, and I remember thinking...I have to do this someday. To say competing for Mrs. Pennsylvania International is a dream come true is a total understatement!
  • School/job
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Image Credit: Ken Volpe
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Photo credit: Greg Wallace (featuring Lindsey Hart of Lindsey Hart Photography)
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Image credit: Lindsey Hart Photography
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I'm a  graduate--I'll always consider this campus "home" for many reasons, one of the biggest (and by far the most important!) because it's where I met my husband!
When it comes to jobs, the running joke is that I've had about a million of them. I have a teaching degree, and taught everything from Preschool to 5th grade prior to leaving teaching to become a full-time homemaker once my daughter was born. I consider being wife to Dillon and "Ba" to Brielle to be, by far, my true vocation. In addition, however, I have a ton of jobs (partly why I created my own website, emilykenniston.portfoliobox.net, to try and keep track of them all in one place!). I'm an agency represented commercial, print, and lifestyle model (lately specializing in bridal), an author (I blog for  and am editing my debut psychological thriller, Fear of Man), a journalist (I report for Berks Weekly), a volunteer princess (The Pennsylvania Princess Project/Princess for a Day (my official pageant platform), and I'm the creator, host, and producer of "Small Business Spotlight", an original show on BCTV.org designed to support and promote small business owners.
  • Platform

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In 2015, I started a volunteer group with several friends called The Pennsylvania Princess Project (no affiliation with Disney). We traveled around PA appearing in character as princesses at hospitals, parties, and events as a way to spread God's love to children and to give back to our communities.
In 2017, I performed as part of the surprise entertainment for an AMAZING organization called Princess For A Day, and an unbelievable partnership was formed. PFAD is an empowerment program for girls that targets bullying, promotes lifelong friendship through a series of social functions and fun guest speakers, and teaches poise and etiquette. The program culminates with a red carpet event where every girl walks a red carpet and gets crowned by local pageant winners.
It is one of the highest honors of my life to represent Princess for a Day as my pageant platform-both as Mrs. Reading International and as the program's own personal "Ice Queen".


  • Family

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Image credit: Lindsey Hart Photography (peep my TCC faux leather jacket!)

My husband, Dillon , and I have been together for 13 years! We were college sweethearts that were lucky enough to get married. Our daughter, Brielle, is 3 years old and just started preschool (which she absolutely adores).

  • Hobbies

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My hobbies are sort of all over the place!
I'm very much an "indoor girl" who has a deep and abiding love for the creative arts. I've been a trained opera singer since my teen years, and while I can't speak another language, I can sing in many of them. I've also enjoyed performing in various genres for community theaters, including musicals, comedies, and even Shakespeare (my true love when it comes to acting).
I've also been a model since 2009, which started very much as the crowning dream of my hobbies since I was encouraged to start by various friends (and even my favorite professor). At this point, I consider modeling both a hobby and a career!
Finally, in addition to being a reporter and writing articles for a local news source, I'm an author. In 2019, I completed work on a 400+ page manuscript of an original psychological thriller (my very favorite genre) entitled "Fear of Man"--it's a pretty wild ride, and I'm working through edits to get ready to officially start pitching the novel to potential publishers!


  • Fun Fact

I was always HORRIBLE with languages in school--but, ironically, I can memorize just about anything quite quickly. While I can't speak any other language besides English, I have performed songs in MANY different languages over the years--Italian (mostly--it comes easily to me as a singer), French, Spanish, and I believe I even sang in Hebrew and German once upon a time. In addition, I can fake European accents with relative ease, enough that I have convinced people before that I actually came to PA from England!

  • Workout

I'm really grateful to live in a great walking neighbor, with TWO parks for my little girl within walking distance from our home. When the weather is nice, we do that almost every day! I also LOVE Youtube workout videos by online fitness instructor Rebecca Louise. Her workouts are HARD, but she focuses on brief workouts with very clear timers (so you aren't overwhelmed) that REALLY pack a punch in a short amount of time. 

  • Me Time
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
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My favorite "Me time" activities (which trust me, you don't get much of as a mom of a toddler) involve a face mask, a cozy TCC lounge set, and a glass of a robust red blend. Bliss!
  • Favorite Beauty Products
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
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For skincare, I LOVE Dermalogica products (I adore their "Age Bright" line: it keeps your skin clear, fights fine lines, and I personally find it plenty moisturizing without adding another moisturizer on top (though the directions say to do that, I think it would make my skin wayyyy too oily). In terms of a great once-in-awhile peeling mask, I love the red peeling solution by The Ordinary, and I also exfoliate fairly often with baking soda combined with my trusty Neutrogena grapefruit cleanser. I also use an eye cream often, and I use a retinol on parts of my face to fight lines. 
I don't wear much makeup, but pageantry has transformed me into a lash addict! I love (translation: can only apply them) adhesive eyeliners. The felt-tip one from Silly George (available in clear and black) is wonderful, and a cheaper option that also works great (and, in my opinion, anchors the lashes better for longer) is the liquid adhesive eyeliner from Duo. I pair these with Ardell lashes (the "Invisiband" technology works the best for seamless application in my opinion). Usually that's it, with a touch of mascara (Essense "Lash Princess") to blend everything, and concealer (I love the BareMinerals blemish fighting concealer, and will add a touch of undereye concealer for special occasions). If I need an SPF, I use a translucent powder one that comes in a brush applicator, and for blush you can't beat the classic: Nars Orgasm. I hate foundation, but if I have to wear it, the only ones I don't totally hate are Temptu airbrush foundations (THE best), and Bare Minerals powder ones aren't awful either
  • Fave Movie/TV Show
Countdown to the Crown 2021!
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Countdown to the Crown 2021!
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I've been OBSESSED with The Lord of the Rings trilogy since I was a young teen (yes...I learned how to sing in Elvish. Yes, I've read The Silmarillion. Yes, it was amazing.). In terms of TV shows, I absolutely adore AMC's The Walking Dead; I've been a fan since the premiere in 2010. 
There you have it, folks--a taste of my "Countdown to the Crown" I've been doing. 
Make sure to stay tuned April 9-10 as I do a large-scale TCC IG takeover, taking you behind the scenes of a real live pageant--make sure that you are following us @curatedcloset_ 
Til next time...stay sparkly!
-Em <3

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