It’s been 12 years since Paige Botts won the title of Miss Hardin County Fair.
She added another title to her resume. Botts, who formerly was Paige Malito, now is Mrs. Tennessee. The pageant is for married women of all ages who are residents of Tennessee, Botts said.
The 29-year-old started competing in pageants when she was 16 and stopped around age 21. The 2007 Elizabethtown High School graduate recently decided to get back on the pageant circuit.
“I decided to give it a shot and lo and behold I won,” she said. “You do pageants because you enjoy being with the other women and it’s a fun experience, you don’t expect to win.”
But to have a state title is icing on the cake, she said.
Botts now lives in Germantown, Tennessee near Memphis. She has managed her husband Jason’s dental practice for six years and is going back to college to become a physicians assistant. The couple has two dogs and enjoys traveling, she said.
She said pageants are not cut-throat competitions as often portrayed in film and television. She competed against women ages 21-65 who were stay-at-home moms, CEOs and small business owners in the pageant held June 30 in Spring Hill, Tennessee.
“We got together and really enjoyed each other’s company,” she said.
During the competition, they toured the Country Music Hall of Fame together, had a pajama party and played The Newlywed Game with their husbands.
“I would have been truly happy if any of the girls in this pageant would have won,” she said. “They were all great women and it’s a good feeling to walk away knowing you’ll be friends with these women for a long time.”
She plans on spending her year as Mrs. Tennessee working with several organizations associated with the pageant, she said. Botts also will work with Mission of Mercy, an organization in Memphis which provides dental care to those who can’t afford it.
After her reign is over, she’s not sure if she’ll participate in more pageants but even if she doesn’t she’ll be involved somehow, she said.
“Pageants helped form who I am as a woman and it’s exciting to see all this come to fruition,” she said.