JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Miss Hawaii 2007 Ashley Layfield autographed souvenir programs and posed for photographs while meeting the press at the Hilton Hawaiian Village yesterday morning. Assisting her was Vince Souza, member of the Miss Hawaii Pageant board of directors, at left. CLICK FOR LARGE
Dancer has right moves to claim Miss Hawaii title
Ashley Layfield will promote well-rounded education through the performing arts
MINUTES before Friday night's Miss Hawaii pageant started, all 13 girls backstage shared their worst fear: tripping and falling.
Then just as the pageant started, it happened to 21-year-old Ashley Layfield. She took her first two steps on stage and tripped.
But there would be no tearful breakdown, no startled deer-in-the-headlights look and no jittery responses from a woman who's trained all her life to be light on her feet.
"I'm a dancer and I tried to make it look like part of the choreography, but it obviously wasn't," she said. "From then on, I told myself the worst possible thing happened so just have fun."
Possibly because she felt more at ease, Layfield won the pageant and was crowned Miss Hawaii 2007.
She will be competing as Hawaii's representative to the Miss America 2008 pageant in January.
Layfield was a third runner-up in last year's Miss Hawaii pageant, and has also performed as a dancer with 24-VII Danceforce.
The Kailua-born Layfield has been dancing since second grade, and has performed in various musical productions around the island, including "Cats" and "A Chorus Line."
A Star-Bulletin review of "A Chorus Line" in 2005 took special note of Layfield's performance.
"She certainly looks the part of an up-and-coming bombshell," the review stated.
As Miss Hawaii, Layfield plans to continue promoting well-rounded education through performing arts. She taught special needs children a dance routine for last year's Special Olympics, she said.
For the next several months, it'll be more rigorous training in preparation for the Miss America 2008 pageant.
There will also be state functions to attend, and she will be the face of Hawaii tourism when she flies to Japan for expositions and the Japan Association of Travel Agents travel fair in September.
But Layfield said she isn't going to let the experience overwhelm her. Like the trip and fall that got her the win, she's just going to roll with it.
"I absolutely love that I fell, because it's very much who I am," she said. "I'm a klutz. I'm a fun person."
And, as a result, she's now Miss Hawaii.