BOISE, Idaho — This story originally aired on July 4, 2021.
Miss Idaho was crowned in June. Her name is Ayriss Torres and she's from Eastern Idaho. She is gearing up for Miss America which takes place next week, Thursday, Dec. 16 in Connecticut.
"I really am an Idaho girl," Torres told KTVB. "I was born and raised right in the same community that I still am from. I absolutely love the mountains, I love to hike and fish, and I love the people."
The born-and-raised Idahoan said winning the title of Miss Idaho was a dream come true.
"I had such an overwhelming sense of community, and so much love and support behind me," she said. "I didn't have any expectations of winning, honestly."
Not only is Torres going to represent Idaho on the main stage in December, but she'll also be representing the United States Army.
In addition to studying political science, pre-law and finance at Idaho State University (ISU), Torres is a reservist in the Army. She enlisted two years ago at the age of 19.
Reservists are stationed near their homes and only deployed to international stations if they are called for active duty. This allows them to continue their career or education while training close to home.
"I am a Civil Affairs Specialist, I'm a 38 Bravo, that is my [military occupational specialty]," Torres explained. "If I were to be deployed, my role would be to coordinate humanitarian efforts and work as a liaison between the United States and foreign nations, after war, or national disaster. I get to be the person who goes to those communities and talks to them about what they need and what the U.S. can do for them, and how we can coordinate getting relief to a specific area or community."
Serving in the Army means so much to Torres.
"The value of service and the value of giving my life for someone, that is completely what my motto is from here on out," she said.
This year's Miss America pageant will include two other women who serve in the military, which is very rare.
"I've never known anyone to win a state title while they were actively serving, until a week before I was crowned, when Miss District of Columbia and Miss Colorado were also crowned," Torres said. "They are also both actively serving in the military right now. I think that is so amazing, I think it's the year of the military woman. We are going to do amazing things and show how much we love and care for our country."
Torres will carefully prepare for Miss America so that she is 100% ready to compete, and the Army is ready to help in any way possible. However, she said her priorities are very clear.
"The military does come first, and we are coming up on a big training here and we're focused on training and getting through that, and then I know they are going to give me so much support when I go to Miss America," Torres said. "I would love to be in the top 15, but honestly the sky is the limit with such an amazing community behind me."
Torres is very passionate about human rights, and helping Idaho communities close gender, racial, and generational wealth gaps through her organization, The Equity Project. She's looking forward to bringing her passion to the national stage at Miss America.
"I just think it's amazing to be a part of the 100th anniversary of Miss America," Torres said. "Going through that experience really is once in a lifetime."
Torres is also very dedicated to our vets, and she is very excited to announce a new post for the American Veterans Association at ISU. Torres will be the post commander, and she can't wait to start working to help our veterans.
Ayriss Torres' Biography
Ayriss Torres was born and raised in Pocatello, ID to Richard Torres & Melissa Wright. She has two younger brothers, Treyl Torres (19) and Beckam Torres (14).
Ayriss began dancing at The Dance Factory when she was 15 months old, and danced pre-professionally in jazz, hip hop, clogging, ballet, tap, and musical theater- holding national dance titles throughout multiple convention systems. Ayriss was also chosen to represent Idaho in the Dance Across the USA Book, depicting dancers modeling in National Parks in each state.
Ayriss attended Grace Lutheran School in Pocatello through the 7th grade, and then went to Alameda Middle School. Ayriss also attended Highland High School, and was a part of the National Society of High School Scholars. Ayriss received the Presidential Academic Award and was an Idaho State Journal Academic Allstar. Ayriss obtained her GED at 18 and began working in Pocatello.
Ayriss began competing in the Miss America System at age 15, holding the titles of Miss Gate City's Outstanding Teen 2016, Miss Gate City 2018, and Miss Bonneville County 2020. Ayriss won 2nd Runner Up at Miss Idaho's Outstanding Teen in 2017, and has also been awarded the Miss Idaho Bert Parks Award, The Miss Idaho Community Service Award, and the Four Points of the Crown Award.
While a part of the Miss America Organization, Ayriss has been an ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Pocatello Kind Community Organization, Forward Edge Humanitarian, and the American Veterans Association.
Ayriss enlisted in the US Army at age 19 as a 38B Civil Affairs Specialist, obtaining an advanced rank promotion in Basic Training, as well as another advanced promotion in MOS school, graduating from the JFK Special Warfare Center & School on the Commandant's list. Ayriss currently attends Idaho State University and is studying Political Science/Pre-Law and Finance, and holds her position on the College of Arts & Letters Dean's List.
Ayriss is also a Consumer Loan Officer at Idaho Central Credit Union, and is very passionate about financial instruction and helping Idaho communities close gender, racial, and generational wealth gaps through her organization, The Equity Project.
The Miss America pageant, which has been on national television for decades, will be shown only on the Peacock streaming service this year.
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