Aiya Attaway Kelley was crowned Young Mrs. International 2019 during the Young Miss International pageant on June 30 in Houston, Texas.
The categories of the pageant consisted of application, pageant headshot, onstage question, community service, red-white-and-blue wear, and evening gown.
Mrs. Kelley is the daughter of Reverend and Mrs. William and Carol Thorn of Guthrie. She was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan, where her parents served as missionaries after 20 years of service in the United States Air Force. She often says her parents are her greatest heroes and her biggest fans.
Mrs. Kelley graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts degree in piano performance and a Master of Arts degree in Jazz Studies and Sound Engineering. She is known throughout the area for her talent at the piano, her vocal skills, as a motivational speaker and actress, and especially for her warm way with people.
After having taught at Langston University for 11 years, Aiya ran for the Oklahoma State Senate, last year, and while she did not win, she says that she learned much from her experience and made many new, lifetime friends. She currently serves as director of music at Lakeside United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City.
Aiya and her husband, George, reside in Guthrie and are very active in the community and in helping others. She says her husband has been her rock throughout her new adventure of pageantry and beyond.
Mrs. Kelley is the proud Mom of Carolina, who is also a University of Central Oklahoma alumni member. Carolina graduated with a degree in English Literature and is in her third year of law school in Oklahoma City. She is always on hand to celebrate her mother’s successes and is a huge part of those achievements. Carolina says that she has seen her mother rise from a “victim to a warrior,” which brings us to Aiya’s platform, “Standing Tall Through It All.” This platform focuses on victims of abuse, and particularly of domestic violence. Mrs. Kelley is working with several non-profit organizations that focus on helping families to function more healthily.
Mrs. Kelley said she is appreciative to each person who supported her through this time, particularly those who came together to raise more than $1,100 for her international win.
Mrs. Kelley tears up as she states that all that she is, or ever will be, is credited to God Who has guided her every step of the way. She tells The Edmond Sun that as she prayed before she walked onto the stage to answer her final onstage question, she took time to note how far God has brought her in her quest to be the best that she can be.
Aiya loves taking pictures, studying places, people and world events. She loves her four dogs and her dog brother. She said she would take every stray home if she could. She loves coffee, so you will often find her at a coffee shop with friends or family. Aiya also enjoys practicing Kung Fu at the Golden Dragon Dojo in Guthrie.
Some of Aiya’s experiences include being featured on KSBI’s Oklahoma Live, performing concerts in Rome, Italy and Skagway, Alaska, playing at the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion, singing numerous times for the Oklahoma United Gospel Music Association, presenting the National Anthem on a regular basis, directing choirs of all ages and sizes, and speaking at various conferences across the country. She is available for speaking engagements and music presentations and loves to support any community activities and non-profit functions. You may reach her at 405-620-7808 or at email@example.com.
Aiya said she believes in reaching for the stars, and while she has succeeded in her goal of an international title, her story is still being written.