Twenty four girls are competing in this year’s Miss UAFS pageant, but only one will get the opportunity to go on and compete for Miss Arkansas. Some think of a pageant as a beauty contest but these girls have worked hard, not just to look good on the outside, but also to portray their inner beauty and knowledge. Interviews, talents, onstage presence, and knowledge of current events all play a role in the scoring for the pageant contestants.
Emmi McCollom, a junior pre-med student here at the University, gives us an inside look at the pageant life and what makes her so passionate about it. Emmi is involved on campus with her sorority Delta Gamma, as vice president of Alpha Epsilon Delta - an honors society for pre-med students - and as a student mentor for Darby Junior High.
Being onstage comes naturally for Emmi. At just five years old she was performing in musicals and taking the spotlight. The pageant life did not come until high school when a friend convinced her to enter one, and so it began. Miss Arkansas Outstanding Teen is just one of the many pageants she has competed in and placed. She competed for Miss Arkansas prior and won Alpha evening gown, and just recently gave up her crown for Miss Western.
When asked why she wanted to compete for Miss UAFS, Emmi told us that she would be honored to represent her school and community. “It is important to take pride in what you belong to and it would be humbling to show that to others on a daily basis,” says Emmi. Ultimately, her goal it to make it to Miss America and Miss UAFS is just a stepping stone to that dream.
Being beautiful and smart are not all that Emmi has to offer, she can sing too. For the talent portion she will be singing “Almost like Being in Love” by Natalie Cole. Entertaining others is something she enjoys doing. Talking, making sure others are having a good time, and meeting new people are her favorite part of the pageants. Emmi tells us that “pageants are rewarding because not only do you establish new relationships, but you learn so much about yourself and the learning experience gives a new perspective.”
Each pageant contestant must choose a platform to learn about and promote; internet safety is Emmi’s because she was approached by an online predator in junior high and wants to let others know of the dangers that come from media and online bullying, but also the positives of social media when used correctly. She speaks about internet safety from pre-k students all the way to the elderly.
Coming out to support Emmi on Saturday are her family, friends, Delta Gamma sisters, and the person who has helped her the most along the way - Justin Butcher. Justin was her last director and has been there from her first pageant up to now. Emmi believes that God has already determined the winner so all she can do is go out there with a positive attitude and enjoy the opportunity. “All the girls are daughters of a King, so we are already a princess walking off that stage,” says Emmi as words of encouragement to all the lovely ladies competing this weekend.
Good luck to all the beautiful contestants! Miss UAFS will be held Saturday at 7:00pm (Doors will open at 6:30) at the Arkansas Best Performing Arts Center. We hope to see many faces out supporting these girls and all their hard work.