Current HIU Student Uses Pageant Success as a Platform for Advocacy

Posted: February 15, 2017

In November 2016, Cheyenne Gallego competed in the National American Miss (NAM) and won Miss Orange County through a series of interviews and an essay explaining “Why Do You Want to be Miss OC?”  In January, she represented California in the pageant phase where she was named the 2nd runner up for the national title.

Currently an Elementary Education Major at Hope International University, Cheyenne has been participating in pageants since middle school. However, she views the coveted crown and sash as keys that open doors of opportunity for her to speak on behalf of the people that matter most to her.

Gallego uses her pageantry platform to advocate for the inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, specifically children. Cheyenne was inspired by a program she participated in during high school, called Best Buddies. Best buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Upon graduation from HIU, Cheyenne’s ultimate goal is to teach in the special education field. “I feel there is so much untapped potential for those with intellectual development disabilities,” Cheyenne comments, “it takes someone with a loving heart to work with these students and help them reach their full potential.”

UPDATE: Cheyenne competed in the International United Miss Pageant this summer in New Jersey. She has won the title of “International United Miss” and will continue using her voice to advocate for the “least of these.”