Covering Caressa Cameron
We'll be following Caressa Cameron to Las Vegas and posting notes, stories, more photos and videos. Stay with us for continuing coverage!
Caressa Cameron at a glance
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CARESSA CAMERON WASN'T LOOKING TO BE A BEAUTY QUEEN when she entered the Junior Miss Fredericksburg Pageant at the age of 14.
What she wanted was a soapbox. After losing her Uncle Robert to AIDS when she was 8, Cameron had spent time volunteering with organizations dedicated to educating the public about the disease.
If she won a crown, she reasoned, she’d be invited to schools and churches, where she could spread that message to fellow teens.
“I thought, ‘I’m just going to do this thing and if they like me, they like me and if not, oh well,’” said Cameron, now 22 and a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University. “And they liked me.”
She won that pageant and quite a few more. In June, the Massaponax High School graduate earned the title Miss Virginia.
She’s used each victory to promote the cause of HIV- and AIDS-prevention, speaking candidly about risky behavior, urging teens to ask questions and get educated, and working hard to remove the stigmas associated with the disease.
She competes in the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas Jan. 30, where she hopes to impress the judges with her poise, knowledge of current events and a stirring rendition of “Listen” from the film “Dreamgirls.”
But mostly, she said, it’s a key opportunity to take her message about AIDS to a national stage.
“The challenge is that some people don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “It’s kind of like the elephant in the room, and we can no longer ignore the elephant in the room when the next generation’s life is at stake.”
It's what they eat, not what they play (2/6/2010)
MISS AMERICA DESERVES IT (2/6/2010)
Woman to take over Miss Virginia role (2/3/2010)
A crown for Caressa (2/2/2010)
Cameron unfazed so far by Miss America crown (2/1/2010)
CAMERON IS MISS AMERICA (1/31/2010)
A big night for Cameron (1/30/2010)
Pageant crowds go wild over favorites (1/29/2010)
Caressa Cameron off to fast start in Miss America pageant preliminaries (1/28/2010)
Caressa Cameron | Miss Virginia starts strong in Miss America competition (1/27/2010)
Michelle Kang | Her crown fades, but memories still shine (1/27/2010)
Caressa Cameron | Miss America pageant crowns years of work (1/26/2010)