Hello Northwest Arkansas! Week 38!

I was so excited to receive the photos from David, photographer with Photos for You!  Visit his page on facebook (www.facebook.com/photosforyou)!

Monday, after I filled my car with everything necessary for the next week, I headed to Northwest Arkansas to meet the executives of a female-run fashion business, Smart & Sexy.  Ariela Balk, CEO of Smart & Sexy and mother of eight children, has dedicated a portion of their profits to help women advance in society.  Thankfully, Ariela finds value in the Miss America Organization, the largest provider of scholarships to women in America.  For that reason, Ariela invited me to a Smart & Sexy Fashion Show in Bentonville for Walmart buyers.  I considered it an honor to participate! 

The Miss America Properties (www.missamericaproperties.com) is responsible for the Smart & Sexy partnership.  The Miss America Properties is a new initiative to brand Miss America by creating more corporate sponsors and licensing opportunities.  This means we soon will be able to buy “Miss America” products in retail stores across America.  In case you didn’t realize it … pageant girls are businesswomen, too! 

Tuesday morning, I joined international models at Crystal Bridges for the Smart & Sexy Fashion Show.  I got to know many of the Smart & Sexy associates as we mostly discussed the differences between New York and Arkansas.  I was very intrigued with the models from all over the world!  I was especially tickled when the Australian model asked me, “Do pageants exist outside of Arkansas?”  Haha, we didn’t share a lot in common when it came to life perspective.   

Posing with the models before the show!

Wednesday and Thursday, I visited sponsors and worked on projects for the upcoming Miss Arkansas Pageant.  Amanda Farmer adopted me into their family this week … which is always fun!  Amanda owns Bella’s Gifts and Bella’s backroom.  I borrowed a few evening gowns that were both beautiful and affordable!  I hope that you stop by and shop soon!  Also, Megan Farmer did an excellent job of styling my hair on Wednesday and Thursday nights!  She will be at Miss Arkansas OT and Miss Arkansas this summer if contestants are interested in her services! 

Wednesday night was the Greek God Pageant at the University of Arkansas.  This event immediately followed Derby Days, and they both were fundraisers for Children’s Miracle Network.  Miss University of Arkansas Tracy Neal organized the Greek God Pageant and invited me to perform.  If any contestant invites me to a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network or her platform, I will do my best to come!  It is my goal to support and strengthen the Miss Arkansas Organization by helping contestants in any way possible.  I am always willing to offer advice, encouragement, or help.   

Thursday night was the extremely popular Pledge Queen Pageant at the University of Arkansas.  Miss Heart of the Ozarks, Sloane Roberts, was the reigning pledge queen, and many titleholders joined her to entertain during the pageant.  When it was my turn to dance, I didn’t hear the first four counts of my music and motioned for them to restart the track.  However… that didn’t seem possible so I just announced I would perform a cappella.  After I was finished, the emcee said, “And that is why she is Miss Arkansas!”  Haha, sometimes you just have to be flexible! 

Saturday, I traveled to Pine Bluff to attend the opening ceremony at Jack and Jill’s Play Place in The Pines Mall.  We cut the ribbon and started signing autographs for the crowd.  After I signed the last photo, I decided to join the fun!  The kids thought it was so funny to see me slide down the inflatable slide with my crown on!  Then, I gave an impromptu modeling lesson on the runway, and it was a big hit!  You should have seen those kids walking and posing with attitude!  Haha!

The proud owners of Jack and Jill's 

 Strike a pose!

That evening was the final preliminary pageant for the Miss Arkansas Class of 2012.  I was extremely impressed with Rusty Hart and his team of volunteers, who produced an excellent finale to our 2012 pageant season!  I was equally awed with the quality of contestants …. I mean their on-stage question answers were superb and the talent was impressive!  Congratulations to Brooke Ault, who was crowned Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas! 

All of the contestants competing in Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas.

Congrats to Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas Brooke Ault!

Now that we have the complete line-up for the 2012 Miss Arkansas pageant, I can confidently say that we will have one of the best state pageants ever!  We have 47 quality contestants. (48 contestants in the 2001 Miss Arkansas pageant is the Arkansas state record.)  I am so excited for the next Miss Arkansas, because she has an outstanding class of contestants to represent!  

Look at this bunch of good lookin' women!  I was so happy to see so many local titleholders at Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas!  Thanks for coming!  

I am also proud of my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University!  A private, liberal arts university with only 1,500 students, we have eight current students and graduates competing in Miss Arkansas this summer!  We also have a young woman competing in Miss Texas!  We have not had this many Ouachita girls compete on the state level in many years … which makes this former Miss Ouachita Baptist University very pleased! 

Now, to leave you with some thoughts ...  What quality makes a good Miss Arkansas/Miss America?  I believe an excellent titleholder is creative and savvy.  For example, Miss New York Katilin Monte (www.kaitlinmonte.com) had extraordinary entrepreneurial skills that led her to start a non-profit organization for her platform only a few months after finishing college at the age of 19.  She has fueled the momentum against bullying through creative ideas to penetrate social media and culture.  She was outstanding and earned her spot into the top five at Miss America!  When you become a local or state titleholder, you can easily accept what you have been handed.  However, an extraordinary titleholder will strive to make more out of what she has been given.  Don’t be afraid to start a website or blog, organize a fundraiser for your platform, and become proactive!  Innovate creative and savvy ideas to promote your platform and title!

Happy Easter!  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead ... 1 Peter 1:3


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