Women Represent Area at State Pageant
Pageants usually get pegged as more superficial than scholarship-oriented. Fighting to break this misconception will be four women representing Moore County. They will be among the 56 women competing in the Miss North Carolina and Miss N.C. Outstanding Teen pageant.
The pageant, which is part of the Miss America organization, kicks off June 19 in Raleigh, and the winners will be crowned on June 25.
Miss Greater Sandhills
Emmy McLean, Miss Greater Sandhills, has the most experience with the Miss North Carolina pageant of the girls, although her finishes have been all over the board.
“The first year I did very well. I was third runner-up,” she says. “The second year I didn’t make top 10.”
But despite a shaky performance last year, McLean isn’t nervous.
“I’m actually really confident about this time,” she says. “Regardless of the outcome, I’ll know how to handle it.”
She entered her first pageant when she was 10, the Miss Noel pageant, during which she had to perform a talent and answer two questions. She insists that she did not anticipate she would win, and didn’t fit the pageant girl mold.
“I had gigantic glasses, crooked teeth and the stringiest hair you have ever seen,” she says.
But she ended up winning that pageant, found that she enjoyed the competitive aspect and continued with pageantry.
Now, McLean still has a competitive streak, but wants to promote her platform — skin cancer awareness targeted toward adolescents. She doesn’t have personal ties to the issue, but says it is “timely, and relevant for people my age.”
McLean will be performing a vocal selection called “Who Will Love Me As I Am” from the off- Broadway show “Side Show.”
“It’s actually what I sang the first year that I went to Miss North Carolina,” she says.
Miss Moore County
Miss Moore County Charity Haskins will be competing for Miss North Carolina for the first time, although she has previously been to the pageant both as an Outstanding Teen and as a Carolina Princess for her older sister, Holly Haskins, a former Miss Moore County.
Haskins shows an obvious passion for her cause, a mentoring program called “Mentoring for Life.”
“Being a mentor is something that’s so important to me,” she says. “They’re so important and crucial in the way that they affect others around them.”
Haskins, a recent graduate of Sandhills Community College, will be singing “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound of Music.”
Comfortable with the performance aspect, she says the only thing making her a little bit nervous is being conscious of the fact that she will be a role model for young girls watching her.
Katherine Kearns and Morgan Ammons are competing in the Outstanding Teen Pageant, representing Moore County and Greater Sandhills respectively.
Kearns says she savors the opportunity to be glamorous.
“I like getting dressed up,” she says. “It’s a lot different from what I wear day-to-day because I’m just more of a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl.”
On her first trip to the state pageant, Kearns says she’s is more excited than nervous. As a competitive dancer — she will be touring with a company this summer — stage fright is less of an issue.
“I’m used to getting up on stage and showing personality behind the dance routines that we have to do in front of a panel of judges,” she says. “It’s just this time I’m getting up in a dress and some other things, not just doing talent.”
She will be performing a tap dance to a version of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Michael Buble.
Morgan Ammons is another former Carolina Princess, and will be going to the state pageant as a competitor for the first time.
She got her start in pageants at the tender age of 5.
Her platform is called DEAL, for diet, exercise and learning about diabetes. This is an issue close to her heart.
“Diabetes is in my family, and my grandma died of complications from diabetes,” she says. “So I want to promote awareness about it.”
She will be dancing to the song “Come Fly with Me.”
While pageantry seems nestled in its own little world of glamour, it has not escaped the grips of the recession either. Most of the girls have take more care in purchasing their wardrobes for the pageant this year, although McLean says, “It isn’t a huge deal.”
“I’ve had to cut some corners,” she says. “But everyone else is in the same boat. It’s not going to leave you at a disadvantage.”
Pat Ann McMurray, executive director of the Miss Moore County Scholarship Association, emphasizes that Miss America is distinct from Miss USA, which has a reputation for superficiality.
“Miss America is a very traditional, stable organization,” she says. “The girls are accountable to a stronger tradition and rules.”
She has warm words for the past winners of Miss North Carolina, and what makes them exceptional in her mind.
“You remember their community service, and you remember their presence,” she says. “Before, perhaps, you remember their talent or their beauty.”
Emma Witman is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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