Did you know a Sandite is competing in the Mrs. United States pageant this year? That’s right, our very own Ashleigh Twist, Mrs. Oklahoma United States, will be representing Oklahoma and Sand Springs on a national level this July.
Twist moved to Sand Springs when she was a sophomore in high school. She had Mr. Cooper’s leadership class that year, and when a student asked him what it meant to be a Sandite, his reply stuck with her.
“He said a Sandite is the person you want to be, and I’ve always remembered that,” Twist said.
As a former volleyball player, Twist has a passion for sports, health and fitness, and she volunteered with organizations including the Special Olympics when she was in high school and college. She described herself as a tomboy for most of her life – not the glamorous pageant queen people might imagine.
Twist played volleyball at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond her freshman year of college, but unfortunately a devastating injury that year left her unable to continue playing. This, however, is what led her to the pageant world.
Twist began looking for scholarship opportunities through UCO and discovered the Miss UCO pageant. She entered the pageant and won enough money to pay for the rest of that semester of school, and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology, exercise fitness management. But she also found a new way to pursue her passions.
“There’s so much more to pageantry that I fell in love with,” Twist said. “It’s not just crowns and pretty dresses – it’s so much more than that.”
Some of the things that Ashleigh fell in love with about pageants, and that the pageant organizations that she’s involved with focus on, include community service, interviews and public speaking. She said as the face and voice of a community, pageant winners have the opportunity to bring awareness to volunteer work.
“It’s what you make of it – community service projects are huge,” Twist said.
Twist has been involved with the American Heart Association, the Oklahoma Breast Care Center, the VA hospital in Oklahoma City (through her platform Serving Our Veterans, Serving Those Who Served Us), Soles 4 Souls, and Special Olympics and Domestic Violence Intervention Services events, among others.
Twist lives in Sand Springs with her husband, Daniel – a Sand Springs police officer and member of the Army National Guard – and their four-month-old baby girl, Ryleigh Hayden.
“This right here [my family] is the reason I’m competing,” Twist said.
She is a financial analyst for Verizon Business in Tulsa and is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as an Exercise Physiologist. An advocate for healthy living, Twist works daily to help her clients, friends, family and coworkers achieve a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Twist also advocates for civic engagement in her personal and professional life. She is currently organizing a program that would allow the finance department at her office to take a work day to volunteer with the Special Olympics. Her program “Primary School Patriots” teaches school children the meaning of patriotism and breaks down the Pledge of Allegiance so the children can understand what it really means when they say it.
She also has a new platform program in the works called “Commit to be Fit,” which focuses on wellness for the mind, body and soul. An aspect of this program would be tailored to students, but it would also have an aspect for teachers. She hopes to offer a free Boot Camp fitness class to Sand Springs Public Schools teachers after school.
Twist hopes to show Sand Springs youth that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to, and she wants to be someone they can look up to. She is thankful for the support she’s received from the community.
“To me, that’s [Sand Springs is] home – I love my community,” Twist said. “Having the support of Sand Springs is like having the support of my family.”
Twist will represent Oklahoma in the Mrs. United States pageant in July. She would be happy to speak at any schools or events coming up. Contact her if you are interested in having her speak at your event.