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Blum making headlines

May 2, 2014

Inyo County Citizen of the Year and Miss California USA’s Miss Congeniality, Kristina Blum, holds the Summer 2014 issue of Pageantry magazine, featuring a three-page spread on the Bishop resident-turned-national-headline-maker. Photo by Mike Gervais

Inyo County Citizen of the Year Kristina Blum is making national headlines again – this time in a leading trade publication.
Blum, also Miss California USA’s Miss Congeniality, is featured in a three-page spread in the soon-to-be released Summer 2014 issue of Pageantry magazine, the most recognized pageant publication worldwide.
The article follows a February appearance on the “Katie Couric Show” in which she talked about overcoming adversity and representing true beauty. That television appearance came on the heels of Blum’s history-making participation in the Miss California USA Pageant Jan. 2-4 in Long Beach, which culminated in the Bishop resident being voted Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants.
The Pageantry piece, titled “The First of Many,” follows Blum’s rise to fame in the pageantry world as a role model and inspirational figure – a young woman who became not only the first legally blind contestant to enter the Miss California USA Pageant, but also the first with albinism.
Blum received several advance copies of the issue in the mail earlier this week and was surprised to find so much space in the magazine devoted to her story. (Of course, this is the same woman who, upon hearing she had been named Citizen of the Year, asked The Inyo Register to give it to someone else because she was “too young.” She’s 22.)
“Wow,” Blum said Wednesday. “I wasn’t expecting a whole big article. Wow.”
She was interviewed for the piece in February by the magazine’s CEO, Carl Dunn. “I think I have him convinced to come visit” the Eastern Sierra, Blum said.
Indeed, in addition to briefing readers on Blum’s entrance into the pageant world, the article describes Blum’s efforts to leverage her time in the spotlight as a way to both promote Bishop and the entire Eastern Sierra, and make a powerful statement about self-confidence.
“Growing up, of course I had to adapt to living (with albinism) and looking very different from everyone else. I was bullied pretty badly and everything,” Blum tells Dunn. “It took me a long time to come to terms with myself and finally say that I absolutely love my albinism and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It is such a neat condition and so unique.”
Blum stepped into the local spotlight in the fall of 2012 when she entered the first annual Miss City of Bishop pageant and took the inaugural crown on Nov. 30. She spent the next year representing Bishop at numerous city-or Chamber of Commerce-sponsored events, invariably attracting an entourage of young girls impressed with her royal accoutrements and attracted by her friendly personality.
Blum also put her poise, social skills and passion for the Eastern Sierra to good use at the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce, where she’s a popular figure as one of its visitor center hosts.
A citizen committee convened by The Inyo Register selected Blum as the latest Citizen of the Year this past March – citing as one of its reasons her work to promote the county through her national exposure.
Of course, Dunn mentions Blum’s “great love” for her hometown in his Pageantry article.
“Bishop, Calif. is paradise on Earth,” Blum says. “We’re in the Eastern Sierra region of California, which is a very little known section of the state that is arguably the most spectacular.”
When Dunn asks Blum what’s next, in addition to possibly competing in more pageants, Blum’s answer is not surprising to anyone who knows her: “ …I’m continuing to pursue a career in the tourism industry, helping to make people’s dreams come true when they come to visit this area.”

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