fourpoints Magazine

The #1 Resource for Everything Miss America & MAOTeen

Self Preservation

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 10:51

As a small child, Kovi Ashley lived in uncertainty amidst dysfunction, drug addiction, and shame. Her childhood was not normal by any means, with a mother who sold household essentials—such as Kovi’s bed—to pay for cocaine. Likewise, Kovi didn’t enter into the world of pageantry as most did: Competitions, and school, were an outlet and a safe haven where she could challenge herself and work her way up and out of the darkness she knew at home.

When Kovi was crowned Miss Washington County 2010, a bright light shone over everything she’d experienced. She knew her life would take a different route from how it began. “I am not sure that I can even translate into words what it meant to me to be crowned,” Kovi said. “I felt a sense of all my hard work paying off, the gratitude of being a strong and empowered young woman who had the ability to be an inspiration to others and a public servant and ambassador for Washington County.”  

Even though she came from precious little, Kovi overflowed with heart and compassion. Her mission as the local titleholder was to give back to the community that embraced her when she was in need. “All in all, being crowned meant that I could do what meant the most to me: helping others.”

After Kovi’s year of service she moved seamlessly up the chain, and now sits on the Miss Washington County board of directors. It’s a place where she could infuse the confidence she gained from the Miss America Organization into the lives of other girls, no matter their background. “I love pageants. I always have, and I probably always will,” Kovi said. “And the idea of helping other girls succeed in their dreams and have the opportunity to make a difference is really important to me. The world needs more strong, influential women.” 

To ensure this, Kovi’s telling her story nationally. As an intern in Washington, D.C., she worked in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy—helping to advise the president on drug-control issues, coordinate drug-control activities and related funding across the Federal government, and produce the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which outlines Administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences. 

The internship helped Kovi land a job with Lines for Life, an Oregon partnership that works to prevent substance abuse and suicide. Lines for Life Crisis Lines “receive approximately thirty-five thousand calls per year. We are able to de-escalate ninety-eight percent of the seventeen thousand call we receive,” according to its website (   

“I hope my story inspires young women with difficult backgrounds to understand that they can truly be anything they want to be,” Kovi said. “They do not have to be a product of their past; they can rise above and overcome.” Although Kovi is able to reach countless young women each year in an effort to propel them into a better life, she will never forget the organization that gave her the strength she needed to begin her own journey of hope. 

“Being a titleholder in itself demands a certain sense of self-confidence. In order to help and serve others you must be confident in yourself. I think that that notion really helped me gain confidence.”