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Busy beauty queen has many irons in the fire

Miss Michigan USA will compete in Miss USA pageant in April

December 9, 2004

BY NAOMI R. PATTON
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Miss Michigan USA 2005 is busy.

How busy is she?

Crystal Hayes is so busy, she does media interviews between appointments at the hair salon where she works, and she had to put her second vocation -- portrait photography -- on hold while she crisscrosses the state serving as Miss Michigan.

But being Miss Michigan isn't cheap, and it isn't all-expenses paid.

Melissa Pitchford, a regional Miss USA producer and Miss Ohio 1990, works with Hayes and said her trip and expenses to the Miss USA pageant this spring in Baltimore are covered by the national pageant offices. But her travel and related expenses as Miss Michigan are not.

So less than three months after being crowned, Hayes, a licensed cosmetologist, said she divides her time working at Salon Marzejon in Northville, making appearances as Miss Michigan USA and fund-raising to cover expenses.

"You really learn a lot about yourself," she said. "You stretch like a rubber band."

Hayes, 20, representing Northville, was crowned Miss Michigan USA on her birthday, Sept. 25, in Port Huron. The Miss Michigan USA contestants took part in an evening gown competition, a swimsuit competition and an onstage interview with judges. She will compete in the Miss USA pageant in April 2005, and the winner of that pageant goes on to compete for Miss Universe.

Hayes, who grew up in Marquette and Rock in the Upper Peninsula, said she usually drives herself to appearances in a Ford Escape provided by one of her sponsors, Russ Milne Ford in Macomb Township. And the owners of the Little Italy Village restaurant in Northville agreed to hold one of her biggest fund-raisers to date -- a five-course dinner hosted by Jeff Valente and John Gallagher at $95 per person on Nov. 29.

Valente said Hayes comes to the restaurant often and when she won, "we thought it would be fun to help."

"She's a real nice girl ... we like to support whatever happens in Northville," he said.

Proceeds from the fund-raiser will support Hayes and breast and ovarian cancer research, the Miss USA pageant's chosen project.

Hayes, who lives with her aunt and uncle in Novi, has been competing in pageants for five years. She finished fourth in the 2004 Miss Michigan contest. Pageants are not old-fashioned, she said.

"I don't see how something that forces you to be physically fit, exercises your mind and teaches you to have grace and personality could be a negative thing," she said.

And when she's done competing, she wants to return full-time to photography and her company, Capture the Moment Photography.

"I love what I do," she said, referring to her work as a stylist, "but it's only a part of what I want to do."

For more information about Hayes' appearance schedule or the Miss Michigan USA pageant, go to www.missmichiganusa.com. The Miss Michigan USA 2005 pageant will air at 9 p.m. Dec. 20 on Detroit Public Television WTVS ( Channel 56).

Contact NAOMI R. PATTON at 248-351-3689 or patton@freepress.com.


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