This episode features Kellie Hall, a 2014 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. In this episode, you’ll learn how Kellie’s identity as a fun, bubbly, outgoing woman was challenged from day one at the Academy; how she eventually found ways to express this side of her personality in a male dominated industry while also being respected for her many strengths as an officer and leader; and how this journey ultimately led her to become the first runner up at Miss California while also maintaining her career in the Navy. If you’ve struggled with finding outlets to express the more feminine and creative sides of your personality, this is the episode for you. Enjoy the show!


  • Creative and feminine expression in the military.
  • Struggling with height and identity in the military. 
  • Being called vain for being girly and wearing makeup.
  • Finding your person and your place to express yourself at the Academy.


  • Can you tell everyone where you’re from? What school you went to and when you graduated?
  • Can you give everyone 1-2 lines about who you are?

2:38 PART I:

  • What made you choose a Service Academy – and what made you specifically choose the U.S. Naval Academy?
  • Getting recruited by a variety of schools for track.
  • Being worried about being feminine and having an expressive personality.
  • What was your plan going to the Naval Academy?
  • Having a plan to go into public affairs.

10:30 PART II:

  • How did your friends, teachers, etc. feel when you told them you were going to the Naval Academy?
  • Was getting into the Academy a struggle for you?
  • Taking the SAT multiple times.
  • How was it when you showed up for plebe summer?
  • Struggling with her identity from day one.
  • Having her class rank drop and being called vain.

20:40 PART III:

  • If you had to sum up your time at the Academy in one word, what would it be?
  • Tell me about some of the positive experiences at the Academy.
  • Being part of the first Naval Academy dance team (Gaby Cavins from Episode 6 was the captain. You can hear her story here). 
  • How was it leaving the track team?

29:20 PART IV:

  • Tell me about academics. What were you studying and how did it go for you?
  • Did your goals change while you were there?
  • What did you hope to do when you graduated?
  • Getting disqualified as a Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) and going into Human Resources (HR).
  • Other highlights at the Academy.
  • Tell me about that transition from the Academy to being an officer.

40:40 PART V:

  • Tell me a little bit more about that first job.
  • How did you start to balance out your personal expression in this new role in the military?
  • So what happened next after that ship?
  • Who planted the seed of competing for Miss Ohio?


  • What’s next for you?
  • What about your Navy career: Are you getting out? Staying in?
  • How do you currently feel about your decision to attend an Academy?
  • Do you have any parting words for listeners? Perhaps a key message to your fellow Service Academy sisters?
  • What’s one random fun fact about you?
  • Where can people reach you?

Podcast: @missunderstood.podcast

Instagram: @kellierenehall, @lieutenanthall

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