“That’s a tough one. I would have to say April 25. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”

This is the line no one will forget. “Miss Congeniality,” starring Sandra Bullock, put the Miss United States pageant into the spotlight. While it may not have accurately depicted the real-life pageant proceedings or contestants, it emphasizes the importance of female empowerment, breaking gender norms, diversity and intelligence, which is exactly what pageant platforms showcase.

After six years in pageants, Parkersburg-native Alexis Bland has learned and is spreading many of these messages to the state and beyond. As the newly crowned Miss West Virginia USA, she will share positivity and self-confidence with her title and voice.

Alexis visits Fort Boreman after being crowned Miss WV USA. She is using her title to promote the city, tourism attractions and small businesses.

“You can accomplish anything you set your mind to with determination and hard work. Many times, I have doubted myself and feel defeated before I have even tried,” said Alexis. “Through my own personal growth, I have taught myself to believe in who I am and what I am capable of doing. I hope I can spread self-confidence and self-love throughout young people in our state and teach them that they CAN do anything.”

Alexis is currently a real estate agent at ReMax Properties of the Valley, a family trade she learned from her grandmother. She enjoys the work because every day is a new experience, and she gets an inside look at some of the most beautiful homes in the Mid-Ohio Valley. When she’s not organizing transactions or showing a home, Alexis manages her business, Twisted Couture.

Alexis began her real estate career in March 2020. Now, she is a $1 million producer.

Twisted Couture is an online boutique and officially launched in April 2021. Alexis has learned much about owning a business and being her boss, from stocking and pricing merchandise and starting a website to creating a lookbook and building a social media presence..

Earrings, belts, dresses, skirts, tops; you name it, Twisted Couture has it. Alexis’ mission is to make women feel confident in themselves and what they are wearing.

“I have a love for fashion and have always dreamed of owning a clothing store. We are in a time where online shopping is at an all-time high, so I decided to finally take a leap of faith and start my own online boutique. Having the ability to make other young women feel beautiful is an amazing feeling and was my ultimate goal as a new business owner. I will never get tired of hearing a young woman tell me she feels so confident and beautiful wearing Twisted Couture.”

Left to right: Alexis Bland (Miss WV USA), Sherri Hill and Brylee Knotts (Miss WV Teen USA). Alexis and Brylee meet with designer Sherri Hill to create a custom gown for their national pageants.

At only 22 years of age, Alexis has accomplished so much and has much left to do. As Miss WV USA, Alexis will travel to the Muscogee Creek Nation’s River Spirit Casino Resort to compete for the title of Miss USA. The pageant will be held Nov. 26-29, 2021. Before and after she hits the national stage, Alexis will use her title to make appearances throughout the state and nation and use her platform to spread financial literacy education, including personal finance management, budgeting and investing.

“Throughout my year as Miss West Virginia USA, I hope to make an impact on the youth around me. Something I am passionate about is spreading financial literacy education throughout the state. As a young woman working in business and finances, I have seen first-hand the lack of financial literacy education our state faces. If I can help just one young person better understand the importance of finances, I will be successful.”

Miss WV USA Alexis Bland (left) and Miss WV Teen USA Brylee Knotts (right) were crowned on July 11, 2021.

Follow Alexis’ journey on Facebook (@MissWestVirginiaUSA), Instagram (@misswvusa) and Twitter (misswvusa).