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Gary and Randon maintain Lion Pride

By Larshell Green
On July 10, 2017

Sophomore early childhood education major and current Miss Southeastern  Kristyn Gary  received the Women in Education Scholarship. Alumna and former Miss Southeastern 2015 Emily Randon advanced as 2nd runner up in the 2017 Miss Louisiana Pageant. Although neither woman won the crown, they plan to compete next year and take the lessons  and experiences that they gained  this year into consideration. Courtesy of Steven Palowsky Photography, LLC

Both Miss Southeastern 2017 Kristyn Gary and alumna Miss Southeastern 2015 Emily Randon gained accreditation during the 2017 Miss Louisiana Pageant.

Gary and Randon competed in Monroe, Louisiana for the pageant from June 22-24.

Gary was the recipient of the Women in Education Scholarship and received a $500 scholarship for competing in the pageant. 

Gary feels that she discovered more about who she was and who she wants to be as a person while gaining a newfound knowledge of community service.

“I don’t think that I would change anything about the pageant,” said Gary. “It was definitely a learning experience for me, and I am thankful for the lessons I learned, the people I met and the overall experience.”

With a commitment to necessary rehearsals and appearances, Gary admits that she and other contestants were not able to get much sleep in preparation for their respected categories.

“The pageant took a lot of physical and mental preparation,” said Gary. “I had to make sure that I had the necessary wardrobe, prepare myself for the interview, practice my talent and practice for every other part.”

The Evening Gown portion of the competition was Gary’s favorite category of the pageant. 

“My favorite category was probably Evening Gown,” said Gary. “I loved being able to show my calm and elegant side. I also loved that my Fleur-De-Lis Princesses were able to come on stage with me for Evening Gown.”

Randon recently graduated from the university in May 2016 with a degree in kinesiology and a concentration in exercise science. 

During this year’s competition, Randon received the Preliminary Lifestyle and Fitness Award, was named a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math semifinalist and ended the pageant as 2nd runner up to newly crowned Miss Louisiana Laryssa Bonacquisti. 

“I am so proud of myself for consistently placing top three at Miss Louisiana each year I have competed,” said Randon. “I am a three time 2nd runner up, and to me, that is a huge accomplishment. I am so thankful.”

Randon was eligible to run for Miss Louisiana 2017 after being named as Miss St. Tammany Heritage 2017. In that pageant, she was recognized for winning awards in Lifestyle and Fitness and Talent. 

Although Randon did not take home the crown, she gained lessons that she values during her experience.

“Just like with any sport or competition, I have learned that you can’t win every time,” said Randon. “Each girl walks away a winner because of everything we have gained in the process. I have gained friendships, memories and skills that will stay with me the rest of my life. That makes me feel like a winner.”

The Talent portion proved to be the portion that Randon enjoyed the most and targeted her preparation towards. 

“I have been a ballerina for over a decade and a ballet teacher in the Hammond area for the past five years,” said Randon. “It is always a goal of mine to share my love of ballet yet make it entertaining for an audience that may not know anything about ballet or the classical arts. Because talent is worth the most points, I spent much of my time practicing in the dance studio.”

Contestants are expected to showcase most of their qualities in a nonverbal way during Miss Louisiana. Although she does not have any regrets about the outcome of the pageant, Randon hopes that the judges recognized her best attributes.

“I am a kind, caring, independent and hard working person, and it was a goal of mine to show that to the judges,” said Randon.

The 2018 Miss Louisiana Pageant will be Randon’s last chance to compete because of the Miss America System’s age limit of 24.

“I would love the chance to compete for my dream job one last time,” said Randon.

Gary enjoyed her overall experience at the competition and hopes to return next year to compete for more scholarships and to make more friends. She was previously unaware of details about the pageant’s day-to-day operations. 

“I was surprised to find out that the Miss Louisiana Organization is made up of volunteers,” said Gary. “They all generously give up their time to make sure that our experience is as great as possible.”

Although Gary’s main focus over the course of the competition was competing for the title of Miss Louisiana, her birthday was on the last day of the competition.

“Our wonderful hostesses got a birthday cake for me and all of the contestants sang happy birthday to me,” said Gary. “They really made my birthday special. My family and I also celebrated after the pageant.”

Being Miss Southeastern 2017 has prepared Gary in a variety of ways to compete for a crown on a larger scale than at the university.

“I created my platform, raised funds for service projects and began focusing more on current events,” said Gary. “Miss Louisiana does everything that local titleholders do, just on a larger scale.”

Miss Southeastern 2015 Emily Randon performs during talent portion of the competition. 
Courtesy of Steven Palowsky Photography, LLC


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