Dawn Rye | Writer
Since Kalani Jorgenson was a teenager, her grandpa always referred to her as his “little Miss America.” After receiving a letter in the mail that she could be the next “Miss Teen USA,” she thought it would be cool to compete and make him proud.
She explained that her family (dad) Rick Jorgensen grew up in Parker and has several cousins, an aunt and uncle and great aunt still in the area. Jorgensen said she is the granddaughter to the late Dean and Virginia Jorgensen.
Jorgenson, 26-years-old, is the sole owner of Cross Hairs, a men’s hair salon specializing in on-trend haircuts, faces and beards. She is a licensed cosmetologist who earned her degree at Black Hills Beauty College.
Jorgenson said her first pageant was her junior year in 2011 when she was 16-years-old, attending Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls. Jorgenson graduated from Lincoln High School the following year.
Jorgenson explained when she was a teenager she received a letter in the mail telling her that “I could become the next Miss Teen USA.” She said she won the title of Miss South Dakota Teen USA in 2012 and competed for the Teen USA title that summer.
Fast-forward to Sept. 22, 2019 — Jorgensen competed for her fourth time to win the “Miss SD USA” title. After being crowned, she is now on her way to Memphis to compete for the title of “Miss USA 2020”.
Jorgenson explained the most challenging part of competing in pageants is the self-discipline it takes to achieve your goals. She said with it being her fourth year at competing, there are a lot of sacrifices that she has had to make to be successful in the pageant world. Jorgenson said that she has been learning what is essential and what is not. It has been a life lesson and that pageantry has helped her figure out.
She explained the most exciting part about competing for “Miss USA” is that South Dakota has never won before, so knowing that the possibility of being the first person to do that is such a great feeling.
“I’m so excited to get to meet my other sister queens in person (behind a mask, of course) and make lifelong memories with them as we make history at Graceland,” exclaimed Jorgensen.
When Jorgensen is not competing, she has had the opportunity to work behind the scenes in the hair and makeup department for national television and feature films. She said she joined her local Chamber of Commerce and Young Professional Network, creating networking opportunities with her peers and supporting civic involvement and promoting investment in her community.
During her mother’s breast cancer treatment, Jorgensen was inspired to volunteer with the “Look Good Feel Better” program. She said that allowed her to share her knowledge and educate people in the hands-on workshops at the hospital to improve the self-esteem of patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Miss South Dakota heading to Memphis
Dawn Rye | Writer