Miss USA Pageant approaches for Durham
By Emily Pitts
When Ashley Durham began participating in pageants her sophomore year of high school, she never expected to win Miss Tennessee Teen, much less Miss Tennessee USA.
“She’s been very fortunate to do well in the few pageants that she’s done,” said her mother, Charlotte Durham.
Ashley is the daughter of Harvey and Charlotte Durham, of Adamsville, a graduate of Adamsville High School, and a current student at the University of Memphis, where she is very involved.
After winning Miss East Memphis USA, Ashley went on to compete at the 2011 Miss Tennessee USA Pageant at Austin Peay State University last October, where she was crowned Miss Tennessee USA.
Now, she will travel with 50 other contestants from the each state and Washington D.C. to compete in the Miss USA Pageant in June.
It has been a whirlwind of appearances and community service projects for Ashley leading up to the pageant in June. Since she was not available for an interview, we were able to speak to her mother about some of the things she has been doing.
Just in the last week, Ashley has made an appearance on Good Morning, Memphis, done several radio interviews, thrown the first pitch at a Memphis Redbirds game, and visited Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital with several other Miss USA hopefuls.
Before her trip to Las Vegas, Ashley will be working with a fitness trainer and an interview director to better prepare her for the pageant. She will be traveling with the other contestants to New York City for Media Week, May 24-26, to make some special appearances.
When she arrives in Las Vegas, she will be making more appearances at various functions before taping the pageant, which will be aired live.
There are three parts to the Miss USA Pageant: A private interview with the judges, a swimsuit portion, and an evening gown portion.
Now, for the first time ever, the public can help choose a semifinalist for the Miss USA pageant.
To vote for Ashley, visit
Interested viewers will also be able to watch a live stream of the preliminary competition, or the Presentation Show, at 10 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, at www.missusa.com, www.nbc.com, and www.ustream.com
The Miss USA Pageant will be aired live from Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on NBC at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 19.
After the pageant, Miss USA 2011 will travel to her new home in New York City, where she will work closely with charitable organizations such as the USO, supporting troops at home and abroad, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, raising awareness and funds for breast and ovarian cancer research.