Miss America contestant pursuing double mastectomy

Miss America

Win or lose Saturday, Miss America contestant Allyn Rose will have conveyed a message about breast cancer prevention using her primary tool as a beauty queen: her body.

The 24-year-old Miss District of Columbia plans to undergo a double mastectomy after she struts in a bikini and flaunts her roller skating talent. She is removing both breasts as a preventive measure to reduce her chances of developing the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and great aunt.

``My mom would have given up every part of her body to be here for me, to watch me in the pageant,'' she said Wednesday between dress rehearsals and preliminary competitions at Planet Hollywood on the Las Vegas Strip. ``If there's something that I can do to be proactive, it might hurt my body, it might hurt my physical beauty, but I'm going to be alive.''

If crowned, the University of Maryland, College Park, politics major could become the first Miss America not endowed with the Barbie silhouette associated with beauty queens.

Rose said it was her father who first broached the subject, during her freshman year of college, two years after the death of her mother.

``I said, `Dad, I'm not going to do that. I like the body I have.' He got serious and said, `Well then, you're going to end up dead like your mom.'''

She has pondered that conversation for the past three years, during which she has worked as a model and won several pageants, including Miss Maryland USA, Miss Sinergy and the Miss District of Columbia competition, which put her in the running for Saturday's bonanza.

With her angular face, pale blond hair and watchful blue eyes, Rose is unusually reserved. She acknowledged that she comes off as more of an ice queen than a girl next door.

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