As the reigning Miss Colorado USA, Blair Griffith looks every inch the beauty queen.
But, the 23-year-old has revealed that just a month after winning the pageant last October, she and her mother were evicted from their house, making them homeless.
In an interview today, the Denver-based beauty spoke of their traumatic experience and how news of the eviction came as a huge shock.
She told MSNBC: ‘It was really unexpected for me – I wasn’t aware we were being evicted from our home until we got the knock on the door from the Sheriff saying we’re coming in and moving you out.
‘It was just very hard seeing everything, all of my belongings, my dresses that I wanted to compete in at Miss USA thrown into a trash bag and nowhere to be found.
‘You’re just trying to get your life together in two hours’ time. It’s very difficult.’
Speaking without a trace of self-pity, she told how the family’s financial problems began when she was 14, after her father died from prostate cancer.
‘It really started when my dad passed away – that’s when things really started to take a downward turn,’ she recalled.
‘The stress of that, my mum becoming a single parent, having to raise her two children on her own now, it really got to her and [three years ago] she had her heart attack.
‘Ever since then it’s been trying to have to pay for her medical bills – she lost her insurance at that time, so she had to pay out of pocket for her medication. She didn’t qualify for disabilities, and so with having to pay all those expenses, it became hard to keep up with the upkeep of her home as well.’
The beauty queen, who graduated from high school with honours and also won Miss Teen Colorado USA in 2006, is now on the brink of losing her job as a sales assistant at Saks Fifth Avenue as the chain is forced to make cuts of its own.
But she said that she had managed to maintain a positive attitude towards the testing situation.
‘You do sit there and go, oh gosh, not again! But at the same time, it’s almost like a test… I can sit there and go, OK, I’m technically homeless and I’m going through so much, but how can I complain when I have this great title of Miss Colorado USA at the same time.
‘I’m in no place to complain about anything that’s going on in my life. I feel like there are so many people going through the same exact situation.
‘I feel like these are all just moments that are teaching me how to be a stronger person.’
Miss Griffith said that she and her mother were currently living with friends, and that they are now working towards being able to afford a home of their own as she prepares for the Miss USA pageant on June 19 in Las Vegas.
‘I grew up watching the pageant Miss USA on television and it is a dream of mine,’ she added.