Miss America 2015: Kira Kazantsev

 Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

I've been freelancing for HerLife Magazine, a women's lifestyle publication here in KC, photographing the Spotlight features. These Spotlights typically showcase area business owners and charitable organizations. One such Spotlight brought me to Arrowhead Stadium to meet and photograph Miss America 2015: Kira Kazantsev.

Kira's platform during her Miss America reign was ending domestic violence for both women and men. She toured the USA sharing her message, which was what brought Kira to Arrowhead Stadium this past July. Kira lent her support to an event for Newhouse, a Kansas City based non-profit devoted to domestic violence prevention and awareness.

HerLife had a 30 minute exclusive to interview Kira during the event. Upon arrival we were told to set up in one of the suites, where we would be meeting with Kira. Photo-wise it wasn't my dream location...there were flat-screen TVs and Chiefs posters and memorabilia all over the walls--plus the late-day sun was coming in hard through the wall of windows that faced the football field. There was so much red and yellow everywhere. Ugh.

Alas, making it work is a big part of this profession. I set up my lights and figured my best bet would be to try and work with a sliver of brushed-aluminum paneling that was mini-kitchen adjacent. All while working around the bar counter that took up most of the room.

Cindy interviewed Kira and then I had a few minutes to make a portrait happen. I told Kira to stand in this one specific spot that backed up to the counter. It was right next to a trash can and if you couldn't see what I had planned in my head, it probably looked pretty cray. Kira actually said something to the effect of "Is this trash can going to be in the picture?". No worries, Kira--I got you.

 Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

 Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

 

Lauren, why did you have Kira stand like that?

 

Good question!

 

Kira is a key supporter of #PutTheNailInIt, a social campaign to end domestic violence by raising awareness via a simple gesture. Paint your fingernail purple (the color for domestic violence awareness) as a statement of support. Follow that link above to read more.

 

 

 

 

 Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, photographed for HerLife | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Pic above: I'm trying to make lemonade out of lemons here, that dang counter top.

Pic below: Here's one pulled back, to show you what I was working around....flat-screens and red walls...oh yeah, that's a sink back there too.

That other pic is the box that holds the crown. I was so weirdly intrigued by this so Kira let me open it. Much to my disappointment it was not lined with tufted velvet. It was just a plain old box, with Styrofoam to hold the crown in place.

 Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, interviewed by Cindy McDermott for HerLife Magazine's September Spotlight | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, interviewed by Cindy McDermott for HerLife Magazine's September Spotlight | © Lauren Frisch Pusateri

Above, Kira being interviewed by Cindy. I threw this in here so you could get another view of the suite.

Below, how the Spotlight ended up looking in the magazine.

In the end I was pretty happy with what I was able to produce in the few minutes I had with Kira.