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Miss Colorado USA looks for a place to hang her crown

1:04 PM, Feb 24, 2011   |    comments
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"It was a difficult thing to go through to sit there and go, 'Where are we going to go now,'" Griffith said of the fact that she and her mother, Bonita, were evicted from their home in November of last year.

It was just one month after Blair won the title of 2011 Miss Colorado USA.

A series of life challenges led the Morrison native to her current situation. Now, for the first time, she is ready to share her story.

"I hope that people will see this and realize, 'Wow, she is a real person,' or 'Hey, I didn't think there was someone out there going through something similar as me,'" Griffith said.

Griffith's interest in pageants began with a tragedy.

"When I was in eighth grade, my father became very sick all of a sudden," she said.

Her father, Gary Griffith, was the one who had encouraged a then-tomboy Blair to enter beauty pageants. Doctors discovered that Gary Griffith had prostate cancer. He died one year later.

"I was sad. But I said, 'I can't spend my time being so sad about it because I know my dad,'" Blair Griffith said. "He wanted to see so much out of me."

That desire encouraged her to enter her first pageant, competing for the title of Miss Colorado Teen USA. She won in 2006 on her fourth try.

"I cried because I wish that he could've been there to see it," she said.

Griffith's next challenge came when her mother had a heart attack three years ago. The health scare, which led to major surgery, also took a toll on the family's finances.

"Financially, it became difficult for us. The home that we were in, we became evicted from [it] in November of last year," Griffith, a magna cum laude graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado, said.

She had just been named Miss Colorado USA weeks earlier on Oct. 31.

Griffith says her unfortunate experience has given her a new topic to discuss when she makes appearances at various schools and events.

"[People] are going to look and say. 'OK, if she can be Miss Colorado USA and have all this going on in her life and still be focused on her goals and dreams... then I can too,'" Griffith said.

Another challenge that lots of Coloradans can relate to: losing their jobs. Griffith is experiencing that too. She currently works at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center location of Saks Fifth Avenue, which is closing in March.

"I was telling my mother the other day, 'You know, what would be really shocking? To hear great news,'" she joked. "It seems to happen once a month. Something new is being thrown at me."

Griffith practically welcomes the challenges, figuring they will, eventually, make her a better person.

"I feel like these are all just moments that are teaching me how to be a stronger person," she said.

She gets some of that strength from the appearances she makes as Miss Colorado, driving her own vehicle across the state in her spare time to meet the people who live here.

"I met a little girl who had cancer. And she basically grew up in the hospital. But she was so strong and a fighter," Griffith said. "I look at her and go 'Goodness... I don't have a right to complain.'"

Of fulfilling her duties as Miss Colorado USA 2011, Griffith's difficult situation has given her a new goal.

"I hope that I am an inspiration," she said.

Griffith is preparing to compete for the crown of Miss USA 2011. But she won't have to do so on a limited budget.

"Thank goodness for [the] Miss Colorado USA [organization] and our directors because they provide us with a lot of sponsors," she said.

Those sponsors provide things like wardrobe and travel.

The people who know Griffith say she could take the crown of Miss USA.

"Blair wants to help the world," her mother said.

The two are now grateful to be staying with friends.

"Thank you doesn't seem enough... Helping Blair and I get through this," Bonita Griffith said.

Blair Griffith continues to work full-time and make appearances as Miss Colorado USA on her days off, she also maintains a blog teaching girls how to compete in pageants on a budget as small as $100. She uses any extra money she has to help with her and her mother's expenses with the hope of one day having her own home again.

"I know that's what I want for my life," she said. "So I just have to stay focused on that."

Griffith is focused on the Miss USA competition, which is scheduled for June 19 and will air on NBC.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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