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My Name Is...AJ Kikumoto

Former Denver Nuggets dancer, Mrs. Highlands Ranch


About me

I was raised in Boise, Idaho on the Loveland Ranch. I was raised with great morals, values, hard work ethic and grit. I graduated from Boise State University. I was the Mane Line Dancers president my senior year of college. I served a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in Atlanta, Georgia for 19 months, where we focused on helping others and spreading the word of God.

After that, I jumped in my car and drove to Colorado and tried out for the Denver Nuggets Dancers. I made the team and danced for a year. After that, I met my husband Charles at a church youth activity. We got married and moved to Chicago for a year and a half, where I worked for Ford Models.

We've been married for 16 years and we have six kids — five girls and one boy — ages 2-14. We are super busy. I've been either pregnant or nursing for the last seven years of my life.

Becoming Mrs. Highlands Ranch

A year ago, our 7-year-old competed and won International Junior Miss. Part of the opportunity was to go to the Mrs. Colorado pageant. I'm sitting there with some of the other queens' moms and I'm going, “I can totally do this.”

You go onto their website, Mrs. Colorado America, and fill out an application to see if you're a possible candidate and pay a fee. Then in August they announce the winners and tell you what your city or area title is. There is Mrs. Douglas County, Mrs. Lone Tree. I'm Mrs. Highlands Ranch.

This year, there are 48 contestants. It's huge. If you win the Mrs. Colorado pageant, you compete in Mrs. America and then Mrs. Universe. Right now, I'm the local titleholder and I'm getting ready to compete for the state title. I'm going at it like a shark.

Embracing self-care

My favorite part of the pageant experience by far is the retrospection. Self-care is not selfish at all. The growth that I have had in a year is phenomenal. I've dropped over 65 pounds. I'm fit. Last year, I could barely do one jumping jack. I've really enjoyed the physical and emotional aspect of building my self-confidence.

The interview process is 50 percent so I've been spending a lot of time practicing questions. You would think talking about yourself would be easy, but it's not. My whole life has been my family and my kids and serving others.

Fun fact

I'm an expert horseback rider. I love horses. That freedom of getting on a horse and running like the wind. There are no cares in the world.

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