The crowns crossing campus


Madeline Cancienne/The Lion’s Roar

Sisters Mason and Madison Burnette, left to right, represent their community by participating in pageants. They hold the Miss Italian Festival and Miss Christmas on the Bayou titles, respectively.

The women on campus who become involved in pageantry may have varying amounts of experience, but many share the same values that the competition experience provides.

Madison Burnette, a freshman kinesiology major, shared that her journey to the pageant world began when she was young.

“I got involved in pageantry because at a young age, I would watch my older sister compete in pageants,” said Burnette. “I really enjoyed watching her, and I wanted to do everything she did.”

Mason Burnette, a freshman kinesiology major, shared a similar experience as her twin sister Madison Burnette.

“I grew up watching my sister, Reagan, compete in pageants, and as she did her last pageant, my twin sister and I did our first,” shared Mason Burnette. “Although neither of us won that year, we still had a blast. It was a great way to bond with both of my sisters.”

Since then, Madison Burnette has held the title of 2014 Junior Miss Livingston Parish Fair and currently holds the title of Miss Christmas on the Bayou. Mason Burnette recently won her first crown title as the 2019 Miss Italian Festival Queen.

Mason Burnette shared what her time as queen has taught her so far.

“As the Italian Festival Queen, I learn so many new things at each event I go to,” said Mason Burnette. “I’ve learned amazing amounts of things about Louisiana in the past six months that I don’t think I could have learned any other way. Pageantry not only makes you a better and confident person, but it cultures you.”

Similarly, Madison Burnette enjoys making friendships as well as learning more about her home.

“You really get to meet lots of new people and get to travel all over the state and learn more about Louisiana than you actually know,” said Madison Burnette. “As a festival queen, you get to travel to other festivals all over Louisiana, and that really gets you involved with knowing more about Louisiana and making many new friends.”

2019 Miss Southeastern Louisiana University Chelsey Blank, a junior accounting major, expressed what her time as a competitor helped her accomplish.

“I have always strived to be the best role model possible,” said Blank. “Pageantry has done so much to help me with that goal.”

Mason Burnette compared pageantry to a sorority. She agreed with her sister about gaining confidence and making friends through the pageant.

“There are so many girls who are beautiful and intelligent competing in pageants to represent their hometown or favorite festival,” said Mason Burnette. “Although I have my sorority sisters, I also have my rhinestone sisters. My favorite aspect of pageantry is definitely the bonds you make along the way.”

Mason Burnette encouraged potential competitors to think of pageants as “a way of applying for a job.”

“The title you compete for is going to be your job if you win,” said Mason Burnette. “You must represent your title with poise and grace. You must know everything there is to know about it so you can educate others on your festival or parish.”

Mason Burnette gave a piece of advice to those who are considering competing for the first time.

“If you are considering doing a pageant, I say, ‘Go for it, girl,’” said Mason Burnette. “You will not regret your decision. Stay confident and brave. Enter the pageant to have fun though, not to win. Show the judges that you’re having fun and that you love the title you’re competing for.”