Though the newly crowned Miss Kentucky 2008, Alysha Harris, has ties to Henry County - Harris spent some of her younger years in the county and has relatives here - another finalist in the pageant calls the county home.
Chelsey McGlothin, of Sulphur, was the fourth runner-up in the pageant that serves as a qualifier for the Miss USA pageant.
Unlike the Miss USA pageant, the Miss Kentucky pageant has no qualifying pageant. McGlothin said there is an application process, however.
"There is an acceptance part where you fill out one page and mail in a picture of yourself, and then you're accepted into the pageant," she said. "After that you do a phone interview, then receive a packet you fill out. You send that back in, and you're in the pageant."
McGlothin said there was little preparation she could do, asside from preparing for interview questions and raising as much as she could in sponsorship funds.
The University of Kentucky senior said she participated, in part, because she'd done the pageant a few years ago. "I have been participating in the pageants with the talent portion, and I was ready to do a different kind of pageant," she said. "I've done this one before. There's only one step and you're in the Miss USA pageant."
She added that one of the benefits to the Miss Kentucky Pageant is that it takes place over the course of one day.
Pageant day starts at 8:30 a.m. with a brief meeting. The interview portion starts almost immediately after the briefing. Contestants are taken in groups of 15 and placed, one by one, in front of a panel of five judges for a two and a half minute interview.
"You really have to be able to control your (speaking)," McGlothin said. "You have to be able to express why you should be Miss Kentucky, ... I had to discipline myself in my answers (and) know what I want to say as soon as I open my mouth."
After the interviews, contestants go into rehearsal, practicing on stage and learning "how to walk ... on the stage," as well as learning a short dance number.
After a one-hour break to get ready, the contestants come back for the pageant, which also includes swim suit and evening gown competitions.
The questions in the interview portion, McGlothin said, tend to focus on why the contestant wants to be Miss Kentucky, a person from the present or past the contestant would like to meet, and more.
"They saw on my sheet that I dance, and one of the judges ... (said) 'Will you show me what a shuffle is,'" she said.
The format, McGlothin said, worked well for her.
"For somebody who is still going to school and has a job and has to study ... the one day (pageant) is a little bit more convenient."
McGlothin, who plans to become a special education teacher, said she enjoys taking part in pageants because of the networking and interview experience.
"Overall, it gives me experience in my interview and makes me more prepared for a future interview for a career," she said. "And there's a lot of networking that goes on, meeting other girls and meeting directors. I love meeting new people, and just talking with the other girls and hearing their experiences.
"I guess it's just the quest for the crown that's driven me to do so many," she said, noting, however, that if she didn't enjoy pageants, she wouldn't participate in as many as she has.
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