Miss Southeastern reflects on her pageant journey


File Photo/The Lion's Roar

Mr. Southeastern 2020 Brian Williams and Miss Southeastern 2020 Janine Hatcher pose for a picture during the Lion4Life launch patry.

On Nov 22 of last year, Janine Hatcher began her journey as Miss Southeastern 2020.

The pageant winner has since carried out her reign through unexpected circumstances, witnessing history unfold before her. Although Hatcher’s pageant duties have been met with obstacles during the pandemic, she has used her extended time to keep her commitments afloat.

To start, Hatcher announced the new date for the Miss Southeastern 2021 pageant.

“It has changed,” shared Hatcher. “We moved it from November, and it’s now going to be on January 22 at the Columbia Theater.”

Once a Miss Southeastern is crowned, she advances to the Miss Louisiana pageant the following summer. Hatcher’s opportunity was postponed, but she will still get her chance to compete next year.

“It’s been pushed to next June, 2021,” shared Hatcher. “Actually, this week we have a few meetings with the Miss American Organization for all of our title holders that I’ll be attending. I’m very excited to still represent the university and excited to welcome the next individual who will be attending Miss Louisiana with me for the first time.” 

The Mr. Southeastern pageant, which crowned senior communication major Brian Williams last year, is also subject to change.

“We are intending to do it in the fall if possible, but if not, we’ll try to adapt and make changes like we did with Miss Southeastern to make that happen as well,” explained Hatcher.

Although plans continue to shift at a moment’s notice, Hatcher has maintained faith in achieving her goals.

“All the plans and goals that I had initially, I plan to carry them out with the extended time,” said Hatcher. “I’m thankful that I have the extra time to fulfill those goals come into fruition.”

Hatcher will begin her next goal in the fall as she pursues a Master of Business Administration.

“I start the program in the fall, and I’m excited about that,” expressed Hatcher. “I’ve always been pretty tunnel vision about what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was younger. I want to work in a financial institution, and I’m now considering business law. So, getting a Master’s in Business Administration will help further my knowledge.”

In the recent months of her reign, Hatcher has also been using her platform for civil rights advocacy.

Hatcher shared why she chose to use her Miss Southeastern platform to spread awareness.

“I think everyone with a platform has a responsibility to speak on the things they believe and speak on injustices that they see in the world,” said Hatcher “So, I’m using my platform to educate peopleto start having conversations with people, which I’ve had. A lot of them have turned out really well.”

With elections approaching, Hatcher has also shared voting links and reminders on Instagram.

“Exercise your rights,” encouraged Hatcher. “Everyone has rights, and it is our job and duty to exercise that, and we’re never too young to do that.”

Despite the circumstances of her pageant journey, Hatcher does not consider her experience much different from past title holders.

“It’s definitely been unprecedented, but I’m not doing anything necessarily different than anyone else would,” said Hatcher “We’re taking it as it is and as it comes. I can’t say my reign is more special than anyone else’s. It’s just me adapting to that. It’s been a learning experience for me.”

As Hatcher reflected on her pageant journey, she reminded others that their goals are still obtainable and that sometimes, it just takes a little rearranging.

“Your goals can still be accomplished,” assured Hatcher. “It might take a different route than what you intended, but your goals can still be accomplished, and you can still do what you want to do as far as your academics and your professional career. I would just encourage everyone to take it with a light heart and to continue doing what they’re doing.”