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July 29th and 31st


The Accomplishments
Of Today's
Teens ®

Miss Teen Kentucky International®

Ashley Benton

What Superhero would you like to be and why?
When I was 12 years old, I started showing signs of having a mental illness. I didn't realize that is was something more than just being sad. Because of that, I can relate to people who have a mental illness but haven't realized it yet. I know how confusing and scary a time like that can be for someone, especially in the pre-teen years.

What according to you is a true friend?
I had a "perfect" childhood. I didn't have major Familial problems until my later teenage years; I didn't grow up in poverty; I didn't live in an abusive household. I didn't go through any of the stereotypical experiences to develop a mental illness. I came from a completely "normal" background but still ended up with anxiety and depression. I understand that you don't have to go through immense struggles to develop mental illnesses.

How do you handle criticism?
Aside from my own, I've grown up exposed to several other mental illnesses. My mother was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder when I was still a child and my grandfather was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Being exposed to multiple people with these disorders has helped me learn how to overcome my own and to learn the importance of early detection for an early cure.

When was the last time you tried something new?
I grew up in a small, southern town, yet, lived a not so southern life. Coming from Eastern Kentucky, like most, my father was a coal miner, however, unlike most, my mother was in the medical field. I have been raised on both conservative and liberal values and have learned how to appreciate others values and still value my own.

Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?
I have lived near the Horse Capital of the World my entire life but I will probably never own a racing horse. I am a strong supporter of animal rights and am still not sure if there is a humane way of breeding horses up to par with Kentucky Derby horses. Growing up in Kentucky has helped me develop this belief because there is rarely a day when horse racing or breeding is not mentioned.