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Legally Caffeinated: One Legal Operations Manager’s Journey to a Pageant Crown

Prior to joining Black Rifle Coffee Company, Trina Kinyon spent 15 years working at a law firm before becoming in-house counsel at Young Living Essential Oils for two and a half years, then moved into the tech industry for three and a half years. 

“Tech is great, and a big industry,” Kinyon, legal operations manager for Black Rifle Coffee, said. “But I was searching for something that would feed my soul, so I spent a lot of time thinking, ‘If I was going to move companies, what would my dream company look like?’”

Kinyon said that, prior to joining the team, she had heard of Black Rifle Coffee Company, and when she perused the website, she realized BRCC checked all the boxes for her dream company. She really resonated with the idea that coffee brings people together. Plus, though she herself never served in the military, her brother served, doing tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, so working with a veteran-led and focused company just felt right. 

Photo courtesy of United States of America Pageants, Utah Division.

“After realizing this is where I needed to be, I started following Black Rifle Coffee on LinkedIn,” Kinyon said. “I worked on finding ways that I could be a fit in the company, so I scrolled through the employee section and connected with Cherry Hearn, the vice president of legal for BRCC."

A couple of weeks later, Kinyon was feeling ready to start something new, and Hearn messaged Kinyon to set up an interview. The interview lasted more than two hours, and now Kinyon is part of the legal operations team. 

Photo courtesy of Trina Kinyon/Black Rifle Coffee Company.

LinkedIn not only led Kinyon to her dream job but also to a new hobby: pageant competitions. 

“I’m the type of person who doesn’t have a hobby. It’s more like trying new things is my hobby,” Kinyon said. “I’ve owned a Harley, tried out for roller derby, did burlesque for a while, and I’m a pinup with a local group,” Dottie’s Dames.

Photo courtesy of Dottie’s Dames.

From scrolling through LinkedIn, Kinyon found that one of her connections — and a fellow Dottie’s Dames member — had won the United States of America Pageants (USOA) Ms. Utah Division in 2020. Kinyon was inspired to face a new challenge and recalled a pageant she’d had so much fun competing in during high school — enough fun that, at age 41, she decided it was time to compete again. She registered for the USOA’s Utah Division.


Photo courtesy of United States of America Pageants, Utah Division. 

“I loved watching all the things women in the pageant competitions do together,” Kinyon said. “No one knows each other; they just connect and empower, and it made me want to be more connected.”

After being appointed Ms. Utah County 2021, Kinyon scoured the internet to learn how to compete. She got her own photographer, makeup artist, everyone she needed to create a competitive staff. She lucked out with the USOA West Coast Pageant Production team — the environment they created was incredibly uplifting, and she said it was so refreshing to have a support team with no cattiness. 

Photo courtesy of United States of America Pageants.

As the summer came to an end, Kinyon narrowed down her social impact platform, selecting People Helping People, a Utah-based nonprofit established in the early 1990s. It’s dedicated to serving women who have been rescued from trafficking and domestic violence situations, have been recently released from incarceration, or are newly divorced. Regardless of the women’s situations, People Helping People is focused on helping low-income women, primarily single moms, develop skills needed to flourish and break the cycle of poverty.

Kinyon is currently developing a coaching series and a podcast in addition to offering one-on-one career coaching with women in the People Helping People program. 

“I’ve been a single mom for longer than I was married,” Kinyon said. “I wish I had more resources when my kids were younger, so I want them to be available for others.”

Image courtesy of United States of America Pageants, Utah Division. 

Veterans Day weekend, Kinyon competed for the title of USOA Ms. Utah, successfully completing all four categories of the contest. From interviews with the judges to a swimsuit competition, evening gown event, and finally, onstage questions, Kinyon was chosen from among her peers to be crowned USOA’s Ms. Utah 2022. 

“Confidence can ebb and flow, which is normal,” Kinyon writes in a USOA Ms. Utah Facebook post. “Whenever, you experience doubt: 1. Pause - stop what you’re doing for 30 seconds; 2. Take a deep breath - it will help to bring you into the present; and 3. Tell yourself ‘I can’. - the way we talk to ourselves matters. By saying and believing you can do something, it starts to build confidence.”

In just a few short weeks (on Presidents’ Day weekend, to be exact), all of the United States competitors from each category (Teen, Miss, Ms., and Mrs.)  will head to the USOA national competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. There, Kinyon will compete for the Ms. United States of America title with 49 other contestants.

Photo courtesy of Michael Scott Photography.