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Gary prepares daily to battle for Miss LA crown

By Larshell Green
On June 13, 2017

Kristyn Gary was crowned as Miss Southeastern on Nov.19, 2017
File Photo/ The Lion's Roar 

With the potential to be crowned in Louisiana’s largest pageant, Miss Southeastern 2017 keeps a concern for the university’s reputation close to her heart.

“I know that no matter what the outcome of the pageant is, I have had an opportunity of a lifetime to represent the university that I love so much,” said Miss Southeastern 2017 Kristyn Gary.

Gary has been preparing for the Miss Louisiana Pageant, which will be held June 22-24 in Monroe, Louisiana. Gary recently completed her sophomore year as an early childhood education major. 

Despite the expected pressures of competing in front of a larger audience and against more contestants, Gary is most nervous about being apart from her family.

“The week leading up to the Miss Louisiana Pageant will be full of events and rehearsals, which will leave very little time to be in contact with my family,” said Gary. “I come from a very close-knit family and am used to talking to my sisters and parents on a daily basis, so it will be different not being able to talk to them.”

The interview portion has required Gary to prepare the most, requiring extensive research into a variety of events. 

“I have studied current events, historical events and everything in between,” said Gary. “I want to be as confident as possible going into interview, so I am preparing every single day.” 

After being officially crowned as Miss Southeastern 2017 on Nov. 19, 2016, Gary credits the pageant with educating her on being courageous.   

“I’ve learned that it is okay to open myself up to new experiences and ideas,” said Gary. “This whole process has been new and exciting for me. I have had to learn how to go with the flow and enjoy and embrace what comes my way. I think that this is a very valuable lesson that I will carry with me.”

Although she has been a part of several events, Gary cherishes her time that she spent with some of the youngest members of the local community. 

“I have made so many great memories since I have been crowned, but I would have to say that my favorite moment thus far was reading to a class of kindergarteners,” said Gary. “I loved seeing their faces light up when they saw my crown. They were genuinely excited to listen to the story that I read to them. I love being able to share my platform and my love of reading with children, especially since I hope to one day teach elementary school.”

Gary has been working diligently with her philanthropy of choice, Book it to Success, aimed at preventing childhood illiteracy and helping Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She participated in Once Upon a Time in the Park, an event whose goals mirror Book it to Success, and completed a fundraiser at a local restaurant. 

“I plan to continue to promote both platforms and am currently in the process of setting up an opportunity to merge both platforms by reading to children at a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital,” said Gary. “This is something that I am very excited about.”

Miss Southeastern 2016 Alexis Menard admits that preparing for Miss Louisiana was hard physically. However, her greatest battle was internal. 

“My greatest challenge, however, was believing in myself,” said Menard. “Miss Louisiana was my first state pageant, so it was very intimidating to compete on that level. Looking back, I remember how hard it was to stay confident but how rewarding it was when it was all over.”

Menard feels that one of the best parts of competing in Miss Louisiana occurred offstage. 

“The best moments came from the community service we had the opportunity to do while staying in Monroe for the week,” said Menard. “Volunteering with the rest of the girls reminded me why I chose to do pageants in the first place and created memories that I will treasure forever.”

Gary also values the important lessons that the Miss Louisiana Pageant and the Miss America Organization teach that go beyond external beauty.

“Miss America is not all about beauty,” said Gary. “Scholarships and service are so important to the organization. As a title holder, I have been able to give back to my community, which means so much to me. All competitors in the Miss Louisiana Pageant are very well-educated and well-rounded women who want to have a chance to continue their education with the many scholarships that the organization offers.”

From one Lion to another, Menard believes in Gary’s ability to represent the university in a manner that will make the campus and local community proud. 

“Kristyn, you have already made your university and your community proud,” said Menard. “When you get to Monroe in June, have fun and relax. Be yourself, create friendships and most importantly love yourself. You are about to have the best week of your life. Your Lion family is praying and rooting for you.”

Gary’s progression following the Miss Southeastern Pageant has embedded principles in her that she will not soon neglect. 

“I have grown so much as a person in these last few months because of the Miss Southeastern Pageant,” said Gary. “It has taught me so many valuable lessons and has provided me with incredible scholarship opportunities. All of the experiences and memories that I have made and will continue to make throughout my reign will be something that I will carry with me forever.”

Miss Southeastern 2017 Kristyn Gary aims to represent the university well in the upcoming Miss Louisiana Pageant. She has been reading about current events daily and practicing her rendition of “The Greatest Love of All.” 
Larshell Green/ The Lion's Roar 


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