Monday, February 25, 2008

We Found a Superwoman Who's Also a Luvabull 

Posted by James at 10:05 AM ET

By Anne E. Stein
The Chicago Tribune
If you think beauty queens and cheerleaders are ditsy, think again.

Chicago native Shanon Lersch, who is this year's Miss Illinois-USA, has two master's degrees, is working on a doctorate at DePaul, is devoted to charity work, and on top of it is a captain of the Luvabulls, the Chicago Bulls cheerleading-dance squad.

We sat down with Lersch, who will compete for the title of Miss USA this spring, before a Bulls game to chat about her busy life.

Shannon, Chicago Luvabull

Q: Are most guys intimidated by your beauty?

A: I wouldn't say most guys are intimidated by me, but some are, so I just smile and be myself. Once they get to know me for the down-to-earth person I am, they realize there's nothing to be intimidated by.

Q: What's the goofiest pickup line you've heard?

A: "Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by you again?"

Q: And the best pickup line?

A: A guy walked by and asked if he could borrow my cell phone. I asked him why and he said, 'I told my mom I'd call her as soon as I fell in love.' I didn't give him my phone but I bought him a drink.

Q: Lots of people would look at you and think, 'Wow, perfect life!' But you've got to have faults and insecurities like the rest of us. What are they?

A: Sure, I have some insecurities but I wouldn't say faults, and I don't dwell on them.

Shannon, Chicago Luvabull

Q: Are people routinely surprised that Miss Illinois is getting a PhD in education and social policy?

A: Beauty pageants and PhDs don't normally go hand in hand, but for me it works. People are genuinely surprised, just as they are when they hear a Luvabull is an intelligent, hard-working woman, as all of them are.

I actually don't dwell on what others say about me; I only concentrate on what I do and say.

Q: What do you love most about being a Chicago Luvabull?

A: The thrill and joy of combining two things I love: dance and basketball. Not only do I get to dance in front of thousands of people on a weekly basis and travel the world dancing, I get the best seats to watch my hometown's very own Chicago Bulls!

The 2008 Miss USA Pageant airs Friday, April 11th on NBC.

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