Two Elizabethtown students brought home crowns and sashes over the weekend as they competed in the 2019 Kentucky Festival State Finals Pageant at Embassy Suites in Lexington.
Elizabethtown High School freshman Sydney Thomas earned the Miss Commonwealth Teen Kentucky title, won the Kentucky’s Choice award and won the Best Evening Gown award and T.K. Stone Middle School eighth-grader Sophia Todd earned the Miss Kentucky Teen Mini Supreme title, the People’s Choice award and the Best Evening Gown award and was the winner of the Fun Fashion category.
Both girls competed in the teen category of the competition Sunday and advance to the national competition in July in Sevierville, Tennessee.
Thomas said she first began competing in pageants last summer. Though Todd previously competed when she was younger, she said she was inspired to participate in pageants again after her mother, Rachel Puckett, began coaching Thomas.
Thomas and Todd have participated in several pageants since then, using coaching in interviewing and stage presence. Thomas said she has enjoyed the camaraderie that has come along with competing.
“The best thing about pageants isn’t the makeup and the winning or not winning, it’s about making new friends,” she said. “I compete against girls all over Kentucky and I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know any of them if it wasn’t through pageantry.”
Todd said the emphasis on public speaking also has boosted her self-confidence.
“I’m so much more confident than I was when I began this and I have a really good grip on who I am and who I want to be,” she said. “At 13, that’s not easy.”
Sunday’s competition consisted of an interview with three judges, an 1980s-themed cocktail opening number, an evening gown competition, a photogenic category, a People’s Choice division and the fun fashion category. Winners were announced in each age division.
All contestants in the pageant were required to qualify through an existing preliminary pageant in the Kentucky Festival Pageant Association directory.
Competing on a national level will be a new experience for both girls. Thomas said she is excited for this new experience.
“This has been an amazing ride for me and I cannot wait for future pageants,” she said. “I love being on the stage and I love meeting new people.”