June 7, 2009

Former Miss Washington says she led 'double life'

YAKIMA, Wash. —
Elyse Umemoto championed diversity and women's issues during her reign as Miss Washington 2007.

While she was serving in that role - and partnering with the YWCA to publicize her platform of "Embracing Diversity, Empowering Women" - she now says she was privately living "a double life."

"I went from being a passionate advocate to a victim, quite literally a statistic," she said in an interview during a recent visit to the Yakima Valley. "One in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime."

Umemoto is the oldest of four sisters, and one of the top three finishers at the 2008 Miss America pageant in Las Vegas. She made it as far as any Miss Washington ever has, tying with 1959's titleholder, Sharon Joyce Vaughn, of Port Orchard, as second runner-up.

Outside the limelight, Umemoto was dealing with domestic abuse.
Read more at The Seattle Times

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