Katie Brown rehearses a song as part of preparations for the Miss Arkansas pageant July 3-9.
A hush falls over the crowd as they prepare to hear the name of this year’s Miss UAFS. The emcee calls out, “Katie Brown,” and her face lights up as she makes her way across the stage to be crowned, tears streaming down her face.
While Brown won the title of Miss UAFS during the university’s scholarship pageant in March, her journey as a pageant contestant is far from over. This summer, she will compete against several other young women for the title of Miss Arkansas at the state’s pageant July 3-9, and has been preparing for the competition for the last three months.
An Alma native, Brown is a senior media communications major who spends her spare time working at 99.9 KTCS as a morning co-host. She is also a member of Delta Gamma and Student Government Association at UAFS.
For any Miss America competition – whether it be Miss UAFS or Miss Arkansas – contestants are expected to follow the four tenets of the competition, symbolically referred to as the four points of the crown: service, style, scholarship and success.
For Brown, service is the most important of those four points.
“I've gotten opportunities to represent this campus through Make-A-Wish and also speaking at civic and rotary clubs,” Brown said. “I think that not only does it break the pageant stereotype of being self-absorbed, but it shows that every girl who competes in this organization is a part of something bigger than themselves. We all want to be a leader or a role model to other generations, both younger and older, and so we put our words into practice.”
One important part of Miss Arkansas is the contestant’s platform, a social issue the contestant is tackling head-on. Brown’s platform includes educating others on the importance of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as working as a wish granter for children with life-threatening illnesses. She learned about this program through her job as a radio co-host.
“Make-A-Wish is especially important for me because I have seen firsthand how it can change a life,” said Brown. “It's humbling for me because it can make a child and even the family of that child so happy and not have to focus on that illness even if for just a moment. Since I am healthy, I want to help others who may not be as fortunate.”
Having a healthy body is yet another way Brown is preparing for Miss Arkansas. She trains at Body Tailor’s multiple times a week in hopes of winning the Lifestyle and Fitness portion of the Miss Arkansas competition.
So why go through all of this work to become the next Miss Arkansas?
“It's been a dream of mine since I began college to compete for the title of Miss Arkansas, because it is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Brown said. “A full year of traveling, meeting new faces and teaching about who Miss Arkansas really is and sharing my platform of Make-A-Wish is included in the package. What drives me is the fact that I know anything is possible with a little hard work and perseverance. If I do not win the title of Miss Arkansas this year, I will be ready to compete for it again next year.”