The gowns are ironed and the crown is polished for this year’s Miss Troy University pageant, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Claudia Crosby Theater.
Ten contestants will be participating in the 45th year of this annual event. The winner will compete in the 2016 Miss Alabama pageant in June. The winner of Miss Alabama goes on to compete in Miss America 2017.
According to Sara Jo Burks, member of the Miss Troy University organizing committee, the winner will also receive a one-year full-tuition scholarship. The scholarship is provided by the Miss America Organization.
Burks said that the pageant is an opportunity for young women to gain confidence and get involved in community and civic projects.
“They all have to have a platform issued,” she said — “something that they are working on, something that they are passionate about and they care about, in addition to raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, which is the national platform.”
Burks also said that the competition is helpful in preparing participants to form opinions and express them in an effective manner and prepare them for job interviews.
“Once you’ve been through a Miss Alabama interview, you are ready for any kind of professional interview,” she said.
Contestants will be judged in rounds including a swimsuit round, talent round, evening gown wear, an on-stage question and private interview.
A people’s choice award will also be presented based on an audience vote. An audience member can cast a vote for the contestant of choice for $1.
“For me, I have been preparing for the last six months to find the right dress and the right song and become aware with current events,” said Leah Livingston, a junior communication major from Miami.
Livingston said that she participated in the pageant last year as well, and it helped her grow as a person.
“You meet so many people and build many new friendships,” she said. “The experience helps you to be the best version of yourself and become a well-versed woman.”
Another participant said that she chose to participate because of her love for the university.
“I am excited for the opportunity to potentially represent my favorite college campus,” said Carlie Spencer, a junior mathematics major from Montgomery. “My self-confidence has grown, and I have learned about perseverance.
“I have competed in upwards of 20 Miss Alabama prelims without winning one yet; maybe this is my time, or maybe not,” she said. “Only God knows the plans he has in store for me, but I do know that I have learned to not be discouraged and to look at the positive things that have come from competing in pageants whether I take home the win or not.”
MeLeah Morris, a senior exercise science major from Orlando, Florida, said that she wishes to touch people’s lives through the pageant.
“I have chosen to participate in the Miss Troy University Pageant because I want to be able to give back the town and University that have given so much to me,” she said.
“I want to make a difference, have an impact, and be a role model to people of all ages. If I can touch one life, just by competing—winning or not—that is reward enough.”
The other seven contestants participating in the pageant are Lacey Marcus, an elementary education major from Alabaster; Jalyn Harrison, a psychology major from Bainbridge, Georgia; Angelene Kendall, a dance major from Hershey, Pennsylvania; Victoria Brutlag, a hospitality management major from Scottsboro; Conleigh Gilmore, a broadcast journalism major from Troy; Caylee Nicole Sanders, an English language arts major from Goshen; and Kimberly Fredrick, an elementary education major from Mobile.
The pageant will begin at 2 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are priced at $5 for students and $10 for general admission.