Miss Kansas USA

February 22, 2015

As she prepares for Miss USA pageant, Alexis Railsback reflects on her past (and future) at JCCC

Alexis Railsback was taking classes at Johnson County Community College, working a part-time job, fitting in workouts (and working out fittings), all in hopes of becoming Miss Kansas USA for 2015.

That dream became reality in November 2014 when Railsback won the coveted crown in a three-day ceremony in Wichita.

This summer, she’ll compete in the Miss USA pageant and represent the Sunflower State. If she wins that title, she’s on her way to the Miss Universe pageant.

At some point, though, she plans on returning to JCCC to finish a degree in business.

“My number one goal is to have a career in the beauty industry,” Railsback said. “One day I’d love to have my own line of cosmetics. I want to get my business degree so I understand the industry and have the necessary skills to use to launch that business.”

Why she chose JCCC 

When Railsback, 19, graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest High School in 2014, it seemed most of her friends couldn’t wait to go away to school, she said.

That plan wasn’t for her. 

Railsback didn’t mind spending a little more time with her parents in their Shawnee home. “I wasn’t in a rush to move out yet,” she said. 

She also had a dream to fund. The money she saved in tuition and housing by going to JCCC she channeled into her pageant dream, along with much of her earnings from a 25-hour-a-week job as a restaurant hostess.

Personal trainers, interview coaches, wardrobe and travel costs can add up quickly. For Railsback, JCCC not only made personal sense; it made pageant sense.

“My job was my main source of pageant expenses. I worked a lot of hours on top of going to school. I had to make sure I could fund it myself,” she said. 

Going for the title

The Miss Kansas USA pageant was only her third-ever pageant. Two other tries at the Miss Kansas Teen USA had given her valuable experience, but no crown.

Miss Kansas USA accepts contestants at age 18, so when she aged out of the teen pageant and into the next division, she wasn’t sure of the outcome.

“Some girls win on their first try or their fifth try,” she said. “It’s competitive, and you just never know.”

The state competition mirrored what many of us have seen on television: preliminary interviews, swimsuit competition, evening gown competition, more judges’ interviews and a countdown to the finalists.

After she was crowned, the new Miss Kansas USA came back to Overland Park to study for finals. She ended 2014 with her crown, her sash and nine completed credits from JCCC.

Spending time as Miss Kansas USA

For the spring semester, Railsback has decided to concentrate on her pageant preparation and the duties of Miss Kansas USA, which include personal appearances at community events and charity fundraisers.

“I kind of looked at it as, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I only have this title for one year.’ I wanted to make the most of it,” she said.

Part of her prize package as Miss Kansas USA includes scholarships to two other institutes of higher education, but Railsback said she’ll get her associate degree at JCCC first before considering using either award. 

Her twin sister, Ashley, is also at JCCC studying business. “Actually, I’m looking forward to staying here a little bit longer. I’ve enjoyed it here at JCCC.”