2012 Contestant Survey!

I collected a fun survey from all 47 of the contestants competing for the title of Miss Arkansas 2012.  I found the results interesting and entertaining!  Can't wait to see who will be the next Miss Arkansas!
This is me with most of the 2012 contestants at the Miss Arkansas Foundation Golf Tournament.  Debra Hogue is pictured with us since she was one of the sponsors for the golf tournament.  

I first asked the question, “Have you ever competed in the Miss Arkansas Pageant?” 

This was surprising!  I know that we had several contestants compete last year for their 4th-7th year in the Miss Arkansas Pageant.  Consider this year almost a new cycle of contestants! 

I wanted to know which city will have the strongest representation in the upcoming Miss Arkansas Pageant.  Here are the most common hometowns:

Conway- 4
Jonesboro- 4
Batesville- 3
Harrison- 3

Which university has the most contestants in this year’s state pageant? 

University of Central Arkansas- 11
Ouachita Baptist University- 8
University of Arkansas- 7
Arkansas State University-7
University of Arkansas Fort Smith- 4
Southern Arkansas University- 3
Arkansas Tech University- 2
University of Arkansas Little Rock-2
Henderson State University- 1
Drury University- 1

What about age of the contestants?

In how many preliminary pageants did you compete in this year?

Watch out for the girls who won their 4th or 6th preliminary!  I was in that category my second year and placed in the top 5 after gaining so much practice and experience! I admire determination and persistence! 

What is your talent?

Vocal - 24  (52.2%)
Dance -17 (37%)
Instrument – 4 (8.7%)
Other - 1 (2.2%) 

I consider it typical for more singers to compete for Miss Arkansas.  In fact, I was the first dancer since 2001, when Jessie Ward Bennett won as a tap dancer, to be named Miss Arkansas.  The last instrumentalist to win was Ashlen Batson Thomason in 2008. 

What is your favorite phase of competition? 

Talent -  21 (44.7%)
Swimsuit – 10  (21.3%)
Interview – 9  (19.1%)
Evening gown – 7 (14.9%)

What is the biggest reason you compete in the Miss America Organization?

Opportunity/Career Development – 15 (31.9%)
Personal Growth – 13 (27.7%)
Scholarships - 9 (19.1%)
Platform Promotion – 5 (10.6%)
Other – 5 (10.6%)

There is a lot more to this pageant thing than what you originally thought.  :)  

Which celebrity would you like to go out with on a date?

Tim Tebow – 22 (46.8%)
Channing Tatum – 22 (46.8%)
Justin Beiber – 2 (4.3%)
Usher – 1 (2.1%)

I agree girls… this question was tough! 

How would you describe yourself in high school?

Studious – 18 (38.3%)
Cool – 9 (19.1%)
Other – 8 (17%)
Nerdy – 7 (14.9%)
Athletic – 5 (10.6%)

The five most recent Miss Arkansas titleholders have careers in pharmacy, broadcast journalism, law, speech pathology, and international business.  I think “studious” and “driven” are accurate descriptions of Miss America women.

Which celebrity best displays your personal sense of fashion?

Kate Middleton – 19 (40.4%)
Jessica Simpson – 12 (25.5%)
Other – 8 (17%)
Kim Kardashian – 3 (6.4%)
Adele – 3 (6.4%)
Avril Lavigne – 2 (4.3%)

Personally, I would have to go with Jessica Simpson.  :)

I asked the contestants to share an interesting fact.  I received a few really cool facts and want to see if you can match those contestants with their interesting facts.  I listed the facts first and then named the contestants.  Good luck!

1.   I am the only girl in an all male Kickboxing class. 
2.  I fluently speak 3 languages.
3.  I took the ACT 10 times!
 4.  I have megalophobia.
5.  My birthday is on Friday the 13th during the week of Miss Arkansas.
6.   I have a small herd of cattle.
7.   I was adopted from Santa Cruz, Bolivia when I was eight months old.
8.   I am the middle of six children and have been homeschooled my whole life.
9.  I have been in 30 weddings… but plan to elope, myself!
10.  I taught myself how to jump rope on a pogo stick!
11.   When I lived in Florida, I was a competitive sailor for my high school and competed in nationals with my team!
12.   I am in a three-generation country band.
13.  I was adopted from San Jose, California at the age of 2!
14.   I was the stand-in and stunt double for Reese Witherspoon in the 2013 movie “Mud.”
15.  I spent 4 months volunteering in the country of Uganda this year.
16.   I swam competitively for 13 years and was almost homeschooled so I could swim year round and further my swimming career.


1.  Miss Conway, Caitlyn Cook
2.  Miss Sweetheart of Arkansas, Brooke Ault
3.  Miss Magnolia, Sarah Liz Carter
4.  Miss Johnson County, Alisha Sears.
5.  Miss Western, Alexis Farmer
6.   Miss North Central Arkansas, Hannah Billingsley
7.  Miss Pulaski, Dalia Garrison
8.  Miss Jonesboro, Bethany Bell
9.  Miss Little Rock, Bethany Whitfield
10.  Miss Lakes of the Northwest, Rebecca Wheeley
11.  Miss Arkansas Tech University, Claire Hodgson
12.   Miss Crowley’s Ridge, Ashley Gage
13.  Miss White River, Helen Wisner
14.   Miss Southeast Arkansas, Mary Ellen Hunthrop
15.  Miss Lights of the Delta, Somer Allen
16.  Miss Greater Camden, Sarah Sutton

I think we can all agree… this is going to be an exciting pageant!  Hope to see you there! 

75th Anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant
Summit Arena in Hot Springs, AR
July 11-14, 2012

What quality makes a good Miss Arkansas?

Video #6 of my 75th Anniversary Project!

What quality makes a good Miss Arkansas?  There is so much that goes into the job of Miss Arkansas and this advice will help you be more effective.  You will see how influential a Miss Arkansas can be, and it is up to you to use that influence wisely.

Psalm 139... Week 49

This week, I was somewhat under the weather.  Needless to say, I am glad this week is over and I can get excited about next week… Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen!!  I will pick up two of our judges at the airport on Tuesday and head to Hot Springs!  Pageant preliminaries start on Thursday night, and we will crown a new Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen on Saturday!  
Ashton's crowning moment! One year ago!  

Before I get ahead of myself, I will tell you what happened this week.  Monday.... I met with Trey Ashcraft from Ashven Photography in Pine Bluff for an awesome photo shoot!  I really enjoyed working with him because he is professional, relaxed, and gives great direction.  Also, from the pictures I have seen… he takes breathtaking photos!

Wednesday, I traveled to Marion to speak to the girls in the children’s ministry at First Baptist Church.  We played “Name That Tune” princess style, and then I talked to the girls about being a princess of God.  I shared Psalm 139:14-15.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

The girls listened intently and asked great questions!  One girl asked if she could give a compliment instead of a question.  “I can see why they chose you as Miss Arkansas!”  Coming from a 10-year old, that was huge praise!  I appreciated those girls so much!

 This is what happens when someone asks, "How does the crown stay on your head?"

Saturday, I drove to Diamond Head Country Club to celebrate a golf tournament fundraiser for Susan G. Komen.  I guess my business manager wanted to surprise me because I didn’t know until I walked through the door that two Razorback football stars would be joining us!  After dinner, as they were handing out golf tournament awards and auctioning off an autographed football, former Razorback quarterback Ryan Mallett, a 2011 New England Patriots draft pick, and Razorback running back  Knile Davis walked in the door and signed the football!  They were both incredibly nice and graciously took photos and signed autographs.  When they were finished with autographs, they went outside to play football with the kids.  Ryan motioned for the kids to go long, or move left, or move right and then he passed to one of them.  It was really fun!

Knile Davis, me, and Ryan Mallett

Everyone was drawn to Ryan and Knile in a nervous, excited frenzy. Everyone… except for Emma.  Emma was a 6-year-old girl who could care less about those boys.  But when it came to Miss Arkansas, she was seriously star-struck!  She treasured her autographed photo and listened to every word that I said.  Miss Hot Springs Samantha Hudon offered to let Emma wear her crown, and you should have seen her eyes light up!  Even with Razorback superstars in the room, Emma was living a dream, thrilled to spend the evening with Miss Arkansas! 

As we get closer and closer to the Miss Arkansas Pageant week, I was thinking about what I was doing this time last year.  Honestly… I was having a melt-down.  I wanted the job so badly and was putting pressure on myself to perform perfectly.  Wednesday before Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen, I finally had someone tell me to “just snap out of it.”  I don’t know why that was monumental at the time, but it was all I needed to overcome my mental funk.  At that time, I was ready for the Miss Arkansas competition.  I didn’t practice interview or kill myself in the gym during the last two weeks leading up to the pageant.  I was prepared, and there was no sense in doubting that.  So, to the contestants putting pressure on themselves, “Just snap out of it!”

Funny Stories!

Introducing... Video #5 of my 75th Anniversary Project!

I asked several former Miss Arkansas titleholders to share funny pageant stories.  A few girls talked about their first pageant and the rest shared stories from their year as Miss Arkansas.  This should make you giggle!  Enjoy!  ;)

Getting closer... Week 48! Ah!!

We are getting closer and closer to the state pageant!  I can’t believe it!

Thursday, I joined the Miss Cotton Belle Organization in Osceola for their annual Kiwanis Club program.  I remember speaking to that group of people as Miss Cotton Belle in 2009.  I was especially excited to return and remind them of my appreciation for Osceola.  It is so important to support local pageants.  I’m very grateful for the support from Miss Cotton Belle in helping me achieve my goals. 

Friday, I made an appearance at Central Lanes in Hot Springs!   The silent auction item, a bowling party with Miss Arkansas, was donated by the Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and Central Lanes.  I was excited to hear that Janie from the Jackson House won the bid and invited lots of friends to attend!  I met Janie earlier this year and believe that she has the two most well-behaved kids!  I was happy to see them again and enjoy a fun night with their friends!

Saturday, my parents and I made the winding road trip from Hot Springs to Clarksville to attend the first two preliminary pageants of the 2013 pageant season!  Congratulations to Miss Arkansas Valley Morgan Grady and Miss Johnson County Deidre Holden!  Both contestants will be newcomers to the Miss Arkansas stage next year and plan to attend the pageant this summer!

I am currently preparing for the Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen Pageant, which will be held at the Hot Springs Convention Center June 27-30.  We will also be celebrating the year that Ashton Campbell has served the state of Arkansas!  She has been a remarkable Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen, and I am so proud of her! 

If you haven’t purchased tickets yet for the 75th Anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant, visit www.ticketmaster.com or you can buy them at the door.  Remember that cheerleaders get free admission on Wednesday and Thursday, while college sorority and fraternity students get free admission on Friday and Saturday.  Visit www.missarkansas.org/news for more details.  Also, if you can’t make it to the pageant but would like to watch online, then visit www.missarkansas.org for the link to the live webcast.  You have many avenues to enjoy this anniversary pageant with us!

Advice for this week:  trust that God has a plan in all circumstances.   Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21

I will soon be releasing another video and blog on the contestants competing for the title of Miss Arkansas 2012!  Stay tuned…


After a year as the ambassador for the Miss Arkansas Organization, it is time for me to address an issue:  pageant stereotypes. 

Lisa Lang has a weekly documentary entitled “Our America” on the Oprah Winfrey Network where she addresses cultural issues penetrating our nation’s society.  This week, she asks, “Beauty queens – as American as apple pie, adored by little girls everywhere. But over the past few years it's little girls, rather than women, who have taken center stage. Who are these pint-sized princesses? And whose dreams are they really fulfilling?

I feel compelled to respond, especially since I am highlighted in the first ten seconds of the episode.  The clip of me was filmed at the Faulkner County Parade back in August and edited into a documentary, sparking conversation on the national forum. 

I applaud Lisa for probing the world of glitz and princess pageants.  I find that world very foreign and do not advocate spray tans, flippers, hair extensions, or false eyelashes for little girls.     At a young age, those types of pageants are teaching girls to value their appearance and scrutinize their looks.  I believe that will lead to a generation of insecure and vain young women, who have unrealistic expectations for beauty. 

As a “pageant girl” myself, I am asking you to differentiate your opinions among the pageant systems.  Too many individuals lump all “pageant girls” together, for example, often confusing Miss America and Miss USA.  When you hear of a controversial pageant story or watch “Toddlers and Tiaras”, stop to ask which system is being represented.  It is unfair for society to stereotype pageants because of the shows and controversies that feed America’s entertainment appetite. 

Maybe a stereotype is inevitable, but I LOVE the challenge to defy it.  I started competing in pageants on a state level at the age of 18.  Before winning Miss Arkansas 2011, I graduated magna cum laude in Chemistry and was accepted to Pharmacy School.  I have completed thousands of hours in community service while mostly mentoring pregnant teenagers and at-risk youth.  I also live my life by Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.  I am not a Barbie doll without a brain.  I am a driven, articulate, passionate young woman who wants to change the world. 

Maybe this surprises you, but I am not the only one.  When I competed in the 2012 Miss America Pageant, I was surrounded by 52 incredibly accomplished and talented young women who aspire to be lawyers, doctors, actors, journalists, politicians, and so much more!  The Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships for women in America and promotes scholastic achievement and volunteer effort.  When scoring the contestants, 35% of the composite score comes from talent and 25% comes from a 10-minute private interview with questions on any topic under the sun.  The girls who excel in the Miss America Organization are far more than just a pretty face.  They are truly exceptional.  Opinionated

If you are a “glitz pageant mom” involved in children’s pageants, consider the Miss America princess programs instead.  In my state, the princess program allows girls ages 5-12 to share pageant week with a Miss Arkansas contestant.  The Miss Arkansas contestant forms a relationship with her princess and mentors her to build the same values promoted by the Miss America Organization.   It is not a competition but allows the princess to walk onstage with her local queen during evening gown competition.  It is an excellent alternative to glitz pageants and gives the younger girls a positive role model that is hard to find in today’s world. 

I will soon start Pharmacy School with over $34,000 in scholarships and a plethora of public speaking experiences, interview skills, non-profit organization knowledge, and marketing lessons.  I am proud to be Miss Arkansas.  I am not afraid of stereotypes.  

How many years did you compete before winning Miss Arkansas?

Video #4 of my 75th Anniversary Project!

You may be surprised by the number of years it took for Miss Arkansas contestants to capture the crown. The winners talk about the insight they gained through competition. I hope that you are inspired by their journey!

Represent! Week 47!

Most of the week has been dedicated to the state pageant preparation!  If you haven’t bought tickets yet, visit www.ticketmaster.com.  We also will be broadcasting the pageant online in case you can’t join us in Hot Springs, July 11-14.  I hope you join us for the 75th anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant because you have no idea how many volunteers have dedicated their time to making opportunities and scholarships available to this group of impressive young ladies! 

Oh, and if you haven’t seen the headshots for the 2012 Miss Arkansas contestants then visit our website! http://www.missarkansas.org/contestants.htm Many of the girls have websites dedicated to their platforms, so make sure you check them out! 

I stopped by one of our new sponsors, Bale Chevrolet on Chenal Parkway in Little Rock.  They let me get a sneak peak at the vehicle they will provide for Miss Arkansas 2012!   Do you love it!?  I think the Chevy Equinox will be great for traveling! 

I am also so excited for the next Miss Arkansas to benefit from the new CITGO sponsorship!  I have spent approximately $8,000 on gas while traveling 40,000 miles across Arkansas.  Next year, CITGO will cover the gas expense.  Wow!

In the meantime, I had several appearances this week.  Friday, I trekked to Heber Springs for a ribbon cutting ceremony for Arkansas Valley Insurance Agency.  The owner, Tommy Papasan, is next year’s board president for the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes.  As you may know, I mentored pregnant teenagers through the ABC Homes, which inspired my platform of “Second Chances through Mentoring.”  I was happy to see Tommy again and support his business just as he supports ABC Homes.  Once I finish pharmacy school, I want to follow his example of being equally involved in the workplace and charity.

Saturday, I spoke to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Division of International Association of Administrative Professionals, which congregated in North Little Rock.  I shared my platform story and challenged the women to be mentor leaders in their workplace, community, church, and family!  The idea of mentoring extends into every phase of life!  I didn’t mean for a few women to cry but appreciated how receptive they were to my message.  I especially enjoyed the question and answer segment.

After I finished, Craig O’Neill from THV Channel 11 entertained the group.  We spoke briefly afterward, and I really appreciated what he had to say!  He told me, “In 20 years, people will remember how you touched them.  I guess that is my way of saying to look forward to 40!”  Haha, he is always so charming!  He also asked me if random people approach me to say, “Remember me?”  Whenever I don’t actually remember that person, he suggested I say, “Oh yeah… we met in jail, right?!”  Haha, what wisdom!

Saturday night, I joined college friends for Amy’s engagement party!  I loved relaxing with my friends and laughing all night.  To the next Miss Arkansas, make time for your friends!  They keep you grounded and stress-free! 

Sunday, I headed to Hensley to share my testimony at the Church of the Nazarene.  I spoke in Hensley earlier this year at the Baptist Church, and one of the ladies in attendance couldn’t stop talking about my testimony at work.  Her co-worker decided to book me for her church, and I was reminded of the incredible effect of word-of-mouth communication.  Also, a distant cousin, Shirley, attends that church and invited my PawPaw and cousin Charlotte to attend the service.  After church, we headed to my cousin’s house for a Southern-cooked meal!  It was a good day with my kinfolk! 

As we sat down for dinner, I was touched by the blessing we had before lunch.  We held hands as Shirley’s husband said the prayer, “God, thank you for family, and thank you that a Christian girl represents our state.”  As Christians, we always represent more than ourselves.  I have been lucky enough to also represent the state that I love!

I always encourage audiences to recognize their influence.  Miss Arkansas or not, people recognize what you do and hear what you say.  Choose to use your influence positively and remember that you are always representing more than yourself. 

Benefits of competing in MAO?

When asked, "How have you benefited from competing in the Miss Arkansas and Miss America Organizations?" the former Miss Arkansas titleholders gave insightful answers. We have all benefitted through scholarship, life skills, friendships, and career development.

Enjoy video #3 of my project in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Miss Arkansas Pageant!  

June Already?! Week 46

This week started with Memorial Day, a day to reflect on those who sacrificed so much for freedom.  Thank you!

I celebrated Memorial Day with my family on the lake.  A few unfortunate events surprised us over the weekend.  Our boat battery died, and our grill ran out of propane.  With a few extra reasons to laugh, we were all in good spirits because my precious niece tested out the swimming pool for the first time!  I just love her!

Tuesday was catch-up day!  I visited the Miss Arkansas business office and finished more preparations for the Miss Arkansas pageant.  You cannot fathom how much work goes into the pageant week!  There are so many elements to plan for the state pageant, and we couldn’t do it without the army of volunteers!  It will definitely be a show you don’t want to miss.  Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster on June 4. 

Wednesday, I joined many state legislators at Harding University in Searcy for Girls State.  As a Girls State delegate in 2006, I was honored to be voted Speaker of the House by my constituents!  I really enjoyed speaking to this year’s assembly and was so thankful for the opportunity.  As I was introduced, the Girls State audience gave a standing ovation!  I am always humbled by the way an Arkansas audience welcomes their Miss Arkansas!

During my speech, I shared a prediction I read that our generation will be less wealthy, healthy, and successful.  The girls booed this presumption, and I couldn’t help but smile!  I challenged them to be courageous leaders to change the path of society and defy all expectations.  During the week of Girls State, some of the girls were inspired to become lawyers or politicians.  Regardless of her chosen career, I hope that every female who attended was inspired to change the world. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Margaret Mead
My two state senators:  Current Senator Eddie Jo Williams and former Senator Bobby Glover (my pawpaw) 

My next destination was Springdale for a night with the Farmer family.  We spent the evening bowling, and even though I was terrible, I had a blast!  Thursday morning, I attended the Wal-Mart Shareholders’ Meeting and 50th anniversary celebration on the campus of the University of Arkansas.  I spent the day promoting Coca-Cola while meeting Wal-Mart associates from all over the world!  The town was teeming with celebrities, but I didn’t meet anyone famous.  It was a neat experience!

Friday, I joined the fight against cancer with Relay for Life in Hot Springs, which is the largest fundraiser in the state!  My business manager and teammate, Vicki Rima, invited me to celebrate with her family.  Her husband, John, is currently battling cancer for the second time.  I saw so many familiar faces at the Relay and was impressed with how the community supports one another!  I felt undeserving when asked to walk with the survivors in the celebration lap considering the courageous fight they have all given.  However, I had so many survivors thank me for joining them in the walk.  I am glad I walked after knowing what it meant to them!  Miss University of Arkansas Tracy Neal and Miss Central Arkansas Erin Larsen, who have platforms promoting cancer prevention, joined us to participate in the Relay.  
 John and Vicki Rima!

Tracy Neal, me, Raygan Sylvester, and Erin Larsen

Speaking of cancer survivors, I can add my grandmother to the list!  When diagnosed with cancer  for the third time last July, my MawMaw started treatment and never gave up the fight.  The doctor's last report was very positive as her lymphnodes have returned to normality!  MawMaw reads my blog every week so when you read this... just know that I will be making plans to celebrate your good news with a fried pie at Nick's very soon!  

Saturday was my day off.   I can’t remember having a Saturday off since my crowning last year!  Can you believe it?!  I did laundry for the first time in three weeks and took a three-hour nap in the afternoon.  Talk about a day!

Sunday was a big day!  I joined Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, a church that I have been visiting since I moved to Little Rock!  I am excited about getting plugged into the church! 

That afternoon, I drove to Jonesboro for a princess party with Miss Cotton Belle Mollie Parker!  It was a fundraiser for her platform, Make-a-Wish Foundation.  This event was very well organized and successful as they raised over $8,000!  I signed so many autographs for many little girls in tiaras with fresh curls, pink nail polish, and lime green eye shadow!  Whenever possible, I try to support local titleholders’ efforts to promote their personal platforms or Children’s Miracle Network.  I want the Miss Arkansas Class of 2012 to be the most prepared ever!

 Mollie Parker makes a wonderful Cinderella!  

Sunday night, I joined my best friends for a Miss USA watch party!  Miss Arkansas USA is Kelsey Dow, who competed with me last year as Miss ASU for the title of Miss Arkansas.  You may think she is beautiful from her pictures, but just wait until you see her beautiful heart!  Congratulations to Kelsey for making the top 15 and being voted as America’s Choice!  We are very proud of you! 

I have to share pictures from Steve Newby Photography in Russellville!  Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen Ashton Campbell and I joined Dr. Cooper for a photo shoot and were very pleased with the outcome! 
 "Sisters by chance, Friends by choice."
Dr. Cooper is the dentist behind the smile!  Thank you Coop!  

Speaking of Children’s Miracle Network, I am especially excited about my fundraiser at the Spirited Art Studio in Little Rock on Tuesday!  Don’t forget to visit their website to register ($35) for your canvas and paints: (http://www.rezclick.com/spiritedartlittlerock/index.php?page=classes#519).  The instructor will walk us through as we each paint a Razorback.  I hope to see you there!!  What fun for a great cause!