She grew up as a tomboy with a brother who is only 11 months older in the heart of Steeler country. She used to play neighborhood football games, including getting into a fight while she had a broken collarbone with the biggest kid because he grabbed her hair while she headed for the end zone. Painful slapshots to the face from street hockey and impersonating WWF characters were a daily part of her childhood.
“When we got one of those big trampolines, we invented the WTWF (World Trampoline Wrestling Federation). We have self-recorded, home videos of our wrestling matches! My brother commentated the entire time as we wrestled. It was hilarious!” she said.
23-year-old Shauna was born a sports fan. Pittsburgh is known for its passionate fan base, and she is no exception. The Steelers, Penguins, Panthers, and even the Pirates receive much of her adoration. Her favorite players are Troy Polamalu, Heath Miller, and Larry Fitzgerald.
These days, Shauna is focusing on getting her Master’s from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania’s School of Graduate Studies and Research. In addition, she is a substitute teacher, dance teacher and choreographer, and an executive director of the Pittsburgh Scholarship Pageants, part of the Miss America organization.
Attracted by the talent portion of the competition, the focus on community service, and the scholarship opportunities, Shauna decided to compete in her first pageant at 20. Since then, she has held three local titles, including Miss River City 2010. At both the 2009 and 2010 Miss Pennsylvania pageants, she placed in the top five and won the preliminary swimsuit award.
“I’ve grown tremendously from competing in this organization and have received enough scholarships to help pay for my graduate classes. I wanted to give back, which is why I chose to volunteer to direct the Pittsburgh local pageant,” she said.
Her dancing talent has also served her well outside of pageants. She was a dance team member for the Erie Freeze of the American Indoor Football League as well as a cheerleader in high school. She was also a professional dancer in the production shows of the Norwegian Pearl, part of the Norwegian Cruise Line. It was thrilling for her to sail the eastern Caribbean for three months while performing.
In fact, her parents even made her choose between basketball and dancing in third grade. “I was obsessed with the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. I wore his jersey and put his poster up on my wall,” she said. “Unfortunately, I never played basketball even though I am 5’9″ because my parents
said I had to pick between dance and basketball. I chose dance.”
However, that choice has paved a wonderful path for her. She participated in “Let’s Dance Pittsburgh” in 2006 where the top 20 acts from an audition competed live on stage. Miss USA 2003 and TRL host, Susie Castillo, hosted the event. It was there that she first met former Steeler great Franco Harris, who was a judge in the competition. Cheryl Burke from Dancing With the Stars was also a judge.
Last year, Shauna saw Harris again at the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation Gala where Harris was an honoree. When she first began competing in the Miss American organization, she chose juvenile arthritis awareness as her platform. Since then, she has continued to promote the issue, raised funds, and voluntarily joins the foundation’s events committees.
Penguin Max Talbot and Steeler Ike Taylor have been generous in donating signed items for Shauna’s various charities. She organized an “Art for Arthritis” benefit with a silent auction on items as well as helped to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network as part of the Miss America partnership with CMN. “They are both great guys who take time out of their schedules to help others,” she said.
Shauna is a gorgeous blonde with a great heart, and she loves sports. What could possibly be better? But, sorry, guys, she is taken. Although she is in a relationship, she values a significant other who has “similar morals, values, and outlooks on life. He shares the same sense of humor and silly behavior. He is respectful, family-oriented, and cares about his own health and physical fitness.”
If you would like to help Shauna and donate to the Pittsburgh Scholarship Pageants, which is a non-profit organization, please visit http://donatetoshaunarice.blogspot.com.
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