Every day, I am excited to learn more and more about the job of Miss Arkansas! I asked Lacy Fleming Glover, Miss Arkansas 2004, if it is normal to feel somewhat overwhelmed at first. She said, “Oh Lord, yes!” Haha! Thankfully, I have received an incredible amount of advice and encouragement from former Miss Arkansas titleholders. Coming from a group of women whom I have always admired, I can’t express how much I appreciate the words of wisdom!
I am realizing more and more each day how wonderful it is to have the privilege of traveling the state and representing the Miss Arkansas Organization! This week, we released my official crown photos and Miss America shots. It was so much fun to receive and begin using the Miss Arkansas autograph pads and official stationary. I also met with Mrs. Micki Konecny, Miss Arkansas 1981 and my mentor, to start working on my talent piece for Miss America! She is such a fantastic choreographer and teacher, I know it will be an awesome dance! Renee, Lacy and I met to begin discussing wardrobe decisions for Miss America. Lastly, I met with Anne Marie, my personal trainer, to start my fitness plan.
It is amazing to realize how the title of Miss Arkansas follows me everywhere! When I went to Wal-Mart yesterday, I signed 6 autographs in the parking lot before walking inside. Haha! So when you see me next… I would be very honored if you asked for an autograph or picture, no matter where we are.
I had so much fun at several appearances this week! Thank you to Ouachita Baptist University and Stuttgart High School for the photo shoots at those schools that are so near and dear to my heart! Interviewing with 105.9 radio station was lots of fun! It was a great privilege to speak to 400 Arkansas high school business teachers in Hot Springs and to encourage them before school starts! On Saturday, I attended the Ding Dong Daddy Day Parade and Festival in Dumas, Arkansas. It was my first time to attend this festival, and I fully enjoyed my visit! Congressman Mike Ross was scheduled to be in the parade but couldn’t get away from Washington D.C. because of the debt ceiling debate. I was so impressed with the warm welcome from the town of Dumas, where I met a lot of great people! Thank you to everyone who made this entire week so memorable!
I want to share some of the best quotes I heard this week. In a parking lot, a gentleman asked, “Are you really Miss Arkansas? They must have picked you because you have all the teeth in your mouth.” Haha, that was very funny! Today, a little girl in a cute cheerleading outfit yelled, “Miss Arkansas!! I live in Arkansas, too!” I absolutely love this job!
We have another exciting week ahead, including the opportunity to meet with more sponsors and to continue preparing for the Miss America Pageant! My best friend is getting married, and I will officially move to Little Rock. I’m looking forward to the first preliminary pageant after Miss Arkansas, the Miss White River Pageant. Speaking of Miss White River, I am so pleased to tell you Simone Mullinax will compete in the National Sweetheart pageant! This pageant is held for first or second runners-up in each state’s preliminary Miss America pageant. Simone will do an outstanding job representing our state!
I hope to see you at my homecoming party next Sunday afternoon, August 7, at 4:00 p.m. The Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce and many volunteers are planning a wonderful event, which they have named, “Celebration Fit for a Queen!” It will be at the Grand Prairie Center of Phillips Community College in Stuttgart, Arkansas. For more information, please visit the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
Congratulations to the top 10!
I couldn’t have walked away with the crown if it weren’t for my incredible support team! Thank you to my mom, dad, and sister for the hours of practice, mock interviews, appointments across the state, and pep talks. Mark and Brooke, thanks for the love and support! Thank you to Mrs. LoraNelle for the year-round assistance with wardrobe. I appreciate your being a traveling companion and hostess of my send off party. Thank you to Mr. Carl for the great photos and friendship. Thank you to Justin, Kirt, and Amy for serving as enthusiastic, caring directors. Thank you to Mrs. Micki for being the best dance teacher and mentor I could ask for. Thank you to Laine and Shelley at the Royal We for a magnificent wardrobe. Tammy Belcher whipped me into shape and got me ready for the swimsuit competition. Jane Slocum was an excellent interview and pageant coach, along with help from Sarah Slocum Collins, Ashlen Batson Thomason, and Amber Bennett Bynum! Thank you to Bethany Whitfield for being the best roommate and making this a great week!
Mom and me! Photo by YGTL.
Attendance at the Miss Arkansas Pageant was remarkable! On Saturday night alone, around 3,000 individuals gathered into the Summit Arena to watch the final night of competition. Another 750 watched online through the live stream that was broadcast by the University of Arkansas. Almost $75,000 was handed out in scholarship and I was blessed to receive almost $26,000 in scholarship! Collectively, the 46 contestants vying for the title raised over $20,000 for Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit organization that partners with Miss America.
On Sunday, I gave my first press conference and received the keys to my car, sponsored by Allen Tillery Chevrolet of Hot Springs. Robin Houseworth, my chaperone, and I traveled to Little Rock for a week of media appearances and meetings with sponsors. Mrs. Robin volunteers as the media week chaperone every year and I would have been lost without her knowledge and direction! I enjoyed appearing on 7 television shows and 5 radio shows. I had a lot of fun on the radio shows, since they are a bit more relaxed and the interviews were longer. “What was going through your mind as you were crowned Miss Arkansas?” was the question everyone wanted me to answer!
I have realized that the best part about this job will be the people that I work with throughout my reign. The Miss Arkansas board members are incredible! They desire to serve and give their time and effort to make this a great year. No other state has the sponsor support compared to Miss Arkansas! I have enjoyed meeting with sponsors all over the state and still have many to meet!
On Thursday night, I had my first official appearance as Miss Arkansas. While attending the Arkansas Press Association banquet, I met newspaper editors from all over the state. One lady asked if I had brought my puppets with me. Haha! I just laughed and explained that was Miss Arkansas 2010, Alyse Eady. Undoubtedly, Alyse has left a huge legacy in Arkansas, and I only hope to compliment her efforts.
I have a lot to look forward to as Miss Arkansas! We will release my official crown photos and Miss America photos this week. I also have a photo shoot with Ouachita on Monday. Soon, I will begin working on paperwork, wardrobe, and talent for Miss America. On Sunday, August 7, the Stuttgart community is throwing me a homecoming party. It will be at the new Stuttgart Grand Prairie Center, and I hope to see all of you there! More details will come later.