UCO Student Wins Miss Oklahoma USA 2018
UCO Strategic Communications student Cheyene Gorman is crowned Miss Oklahoma USA by the 2017 recipient Alex Smith, who graduated from UCO last year. Gorman will go on to compete in Miss USA 2018. (Provided/Cheyene Darling)
University of Central Oklahoma student Cheyene Darling Gorman spent her winter break in a state of, what she called, “relief” after a yearlong journey of hard work and training that turned into her very own Miss Oklahoma USA crown.
“I had done something; I had finally done something for myself and to prove that I am not as much of an underdog that people thought I was,” Gorman said.
Congratulations to Cheyene Darling Gorman, #UCO student and the 2018 #MissOklahoma! https://t.co/b4ggQUBSoR – We’ll be following you on your journey representing UCO and the state of Oklahoma at @MissUSA! pic.twitter.com/h6FKsSoC3j
— UCO Alumni Assoc. (@UCOAlumni) December 19, 2017
Miss Oklahoma USA 2018, held Dec. 17, was the first time Gorman had competed in a pageant.
“It was literally a 360 flip for me,” Gorman said. ” I didn’t even know how to hardly walk in heels.”
Since it was her first pageant, Gorman embraced the role of underdog, a role she felt she’d related to her entire life.
“I felt like I’ve always been seen as kind of an underdog,” Gorman said. “No one really recognized the potential I had and no one really took the time to work with me and get me to my full potential.”
The pageant gave Gorman the platform to show people the potential she always believed she had.
“In doing this, it was kind of me not only proving to myself, but proving to other people I have a lot more to offer than what a lot of people have ever given me credit for,” Gorman said.
That was until her friend Brady Balenti convinced her to compete in Miss Oklahoma USA and coached her to the top.
“Cheyene is one of the most naturally beautiful people I’ve ever met inside and out. Pageants are kind of my thing, and I knew she had every ounce of potential to do well just from the friendship we have.” Balenti said.
“He’s an amazing friend,” Gorman said. “He has been my best friend, almost a brother, for a very long time.”
While growing up, Gorman never thought about competing in pageants and was more focused on team sports like soccer.
“I kind of had a negative perception on pageants growing up, just because it wasn’t something I had ever done before or knew anything about,” Gorman said.
Gorman said that view changed once she started learning what the system was really about, what they do and how contestants can make a difference in their home state.
“It really opened up doors to me and opened up my mind, and I fell in love with it,” Gorman said.
Gorman plans on using her platform as Miss Oklahoma USA to raise money and help Oklahoma’s public school system.
After graduating from Shawnee High School following her junior year at 17-years-old, Gorman saw what she had that some kids didn’t.
“In doing that, it kind of opened my eyes in seeing that not all these kids are blessed with opportunities in pursuing their education,” Gorman said.
Her focus is on raising money for school supplies so teachers will not have to pay for them out of pocket.
“At the end of the day, it’s not just about wearing the crown and sash. It’s a job,” Gorman said. “I want to be here for the moments that people can’t see and when I can inspire little kids or work on non-profits.”