Miss Utah uses her title to bring about change for refugeesNov 10, 2021 02:05PM ● By Becky Ginos
Sasha Sloan spent two months in Greece as a humanitarian crisis worker. Her social impact initiative is Rise for Refugees.
WOODS CROSS—The current Miss Utah is more than just a pretty face. Woods Cross grad Sasha Sloan is using her title to help bring to light the plight of refugees and the challenges they face.
“I want to educate native Utahns about what it’s like to be a refugee and the conflicts around the world,” said Sloan. “I want to get rid of xenophobia and misconceptions surrounding refugees, especially women and girls. I want them to have access to education. Human trafficking is compounded when women are forcibly displaced. It makes them vulnerable to these challenges.”
She shifted her focus to refugees after spending two months in Greece as a humanitarian crisis worker. “We helped with hygiene, sanitation, emergency childcare and meal distribution for unaccompanied minors and women in the camp,” Sloan said. “We also provided socio cultural enrichment like dance and soccer for teenage boys.”
Sloan started her journey to becoming Miss Utah after she graduated in 2015 from Woods Cross High where she participated in public mock/debate and was the Sterling Scholar for speech and debate.
“I did a semester at BYU and then went to Disney World as an intern,” she said. “I played the Cinderella character. Then I served an LDS mission to Los Angeles.”
Along the way Sloan competed in different pageants and in 2019 won the title of Miss Greater Salt Lake. She would have competed for Miss Utah last year but the competition was delayed because of COVID. This summer she competed and won the title of Miss Utah. Sloan will go to the Miss America competition in December.
Although COVID stopped the competition, it didn’t stop Sloan. “2020 was a down year so I started a business that went viral on Tik Tok,” she said. “I gained 1 million followers over the first 100 days. I had 53 million likes and my business netted $100,000. That flipped my whole life upside down.”
She also created a short silent film Noble House of Black. “It's a prequel to Harry Potter,” Sloan said. “There are 25 episodes and it’s been watched 50 million times all over the world. I used actors from my family and Utah. It’s gained quite a cult following.”
Sloan’s goal is to become a cinematographer and filmmaker. “Only 6 percent of cinematographers are women,” she said. “I was the student body designer in high school and fell in love with filmmaking. If I win (Miss America) I would love to go to film school.”
In the meantime, her focus is on preparing for the competition. “The biggest challenge for me is the talent competition,” said Sloan. “I’ve spent years with vocal coaches. I filmed myself and watched it back 300 times and sung 500 times. I’ve spent hours preparing for years. I know I’ll be competing against young women who will go onto professional singing careers.”
Sloan also practices for the onstage questions. “You have to be 100 percent prepared to answer anything they ask you,” she said. “My answers have to reflect my view so I have to be aware of what’s going on in the world.”
Most people still think it’s a beauty pageant, she said. “It has changed dramatically. The shift is no longer based on the candidate’s appearance. It’s about women becoming their best self and thriving.