By Alexa Key
The Miss Gardner-Webb pageant was held March 27, nine women competed for the title. Allie Cooke was ultimately named Miss Gardner-Webb, but all women were commended for their hard work and confidence leading up to the show.
Bailey Clayton, Breanna Littlejohn, Madelyn Kampfe, Nikki Swanson, Brianna (Bri) Bryant, Charity Rosenhauer, Allie Cooke, Callie Owen and Anna Sample all competed for Miss Gardner-Webb. This group of women prepared for the pageant for 9 weeks prior to the competition. This consisted of practicing their opening group number, individual talent, choosing their attire for each competition, dress rehearsals, photoshoots, stage presence and interviewing with the judges. “All the girls worked very hard on this pageant from learning to dance, to walking in heels,” said Maggie Covey, volunteer for the pageant and GWU Photo Staff member.
This pageant allowed each of the nine contestants to showcase their personalities, embrace their beauty and have fun while doing it. They were able to showcase their personalities through segments of the pageant; these included, opening number, business wear, fun fashion, talent from the contestants and evening gown. The focus of the pageant is “women empowerment, confidence, grace and sisterhood,” said Jessika Raduly, coordinator of the pageant and Associate Director of Student Engagement.
The group of judges were Carrie Baker, Lesley Villarose, Lindsey Blanton, Shea Mattingly and Thea Thompson. Prior to the competition date, judges interviewed each contestant. Contestants were allowed 15 minutes to answer a course of questions that would conclude the decision for the title of Miss Congeniality, Most Photogenic, Most Talented and Miss Gardner-Webb. Contestants were also asked to write a tribute speech about a woman who has inspired them most, in honor of Women’s History Month.
The contestants also had their own each individual photoshoot with the help from GWU Photo Staff member, Maggie Covey. These photos were used to showcase the contestant’s personality, and overall let them have fun while competing. These photos were used in the decision making for Most Photogenic, awarded to Allie Cooke.
Miss Congeniality was awarded to Brianna (Bri) Bryant. Bryant exemplified the qualities of congeniality by her friendliness and helping her fellow contestants. Bryant’s personality was perceptible among all judges and contestants, which lead to her awarding of Miss Congeniality.
The title of Most Talented was decided after each of the nine contestants performed in the ‘talent show’ segment of the pageant. Bailey Clayton, Nikki Swanson, Bri Bryant, Charity Rosenhauer, Allie Cooke and Anna Sample all gave a vocal performance. Breanna Littlejohn performed a lyrical dance as her talent. Madelyn Kampfe and Callie Owen each gave an instrumental performance. Callie Owen performed a piano piece composed by Bach. Owen’s performance was notable and lead to her winning the title of Most Talented.
2nd Runner Up was awarded to Callie Owen. 1st Runner Up was awarded to Bri Bryant. Miss Gardner-Webb was awarded to Allie Cooke.
The beauty of The Miss Gardner-Webb Pageant tradition is not only found from the women themselves, but from the womanhood each of them expressed. In honor of Women’s History Month, this pageant had help from many women within the GWU community. After announcing the winners, each of the contestants shared hugs and gratitude to one another. “I’m overwhelmed with joy, and my heart is so full right now,” said Cooke.
Allie Cooke shares a word of advice to future contestants of Miss-Gardner Webb Pageant, “I would just say really be yourself. God made you, you, for a reason so just be in love with who God made you to be and really just show off your personality.”
Take a look at the Photo Gallery by GWU Photo Staff to see some moments from the Pageant.