Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

MMA Marine to take the stage in beauty pageant finals

Jul. 14, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Comments
Marine Cpl. Kelsey DeSantis smiles after winning her MMA fight in October 2011.
Marine Cpl. Kelsey DeSantis smiles after winning her MMA fight in October 2011. (Staff)
  • Filed Under
Cpl. Kelsey DeSantisand date Justin Timberlake at the opening ceremonies at the Instructor Battalion Marine Corps Ball on Nov. 12, 2012. (Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos / Marines Corps)
Kelsey DeSantis (Courtesy Kelsey DeSantis)

More

First, she made headlines in 2011 by taking Justin Timberlake to the Marine Corps ball. She did it again when she became a professional mixed martial arts fighter upon leaving the Corps in 2012.

Now, Kelsey DeSantis has her eyes set on winning a beauty pageant.

DeSantis is letting her tough-girl image slide a bit, announcing July 7 via Twitter that she had been selected as a finalist in the Ms. Veteran America competition, a pageant-style contest that aims to highlight “the woman behind the uniform” while raising funds for homeless women veterans.

A veterans advocate who started her own organization, the H.E.L.O. Foundation, to help troops transition into civilian life, DeSantis said she was drawn to the competition by its mission and its commitment to highlighting strong women who served. She signed up to compete earlier this year—and then life threw her a curveball.

“When I committed to Ms. Veteran America, everything was good in my career [as a fighter],” DeSantis said. “Then I found out I’m pregnant.”

DeSantis and her boyfriend Jake are expecting a baby girl in November. Doing the math, DeSantis realized that she’d be almost full-term by the Ms Veteran America final competition. She emailed the organizers explaining her situation and offering to drop out if necessary.

“They wrote me back and said, ‘are you kidding me? this is what we’re all about!’” DeSantis laughed.

For the competition’s regionals near Washington, D.C., DeSantis had to demonstrate a talent; she chose to highlight her fighting skills with a boxing demonstration, showcased in a humorous skit with some assists from a friend and fellow Marine vet.

“We had all the judges laughing,” she said.

At the finals in Leesburg, Va., DeSantis said she’d do another boxing demonstration as well as a panel interview, for which she’d be judged for the content and delivery of her responses. That part would come naturally, she said.

“Ever since I got out, I realized that it’s a part of me to continue a life of service,” she said. “It’s become a part of who I am and what I want to do. I guess I speak form the heart.”

Following the competition, DeSantis said she’s looking forward to entering her life’s next adventure: motherhood.

“My boyfriend Jake really wanted a boy,” she said, of first finding out they were expecting. “I told him, ‘either way, she’s going to be a fighter.’”

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

'My career was defaced'
Sergeant major tells his side of viral video confrontation

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook