Miss Southeastern 2023’s climb to the crown


Haley Dupre'

On Jan. 20, Kobi Painting began her year of service after being named Miss Southeastern 2023.

On Jan. 20, SLU welcomed Kobi Painting as the 63rd Miss Southeastern. 

Painting began her journey to the crown after participating in Miss Southeastern her freshman year. From her first appearance in the pageant community, Painting fell in love with the competition and returned to the stage for the third time to claim her title. 

“I think being Miss Southeastern is such an amazing opportunity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Miss Southeastern has been one of my biggest dreams since freshman year. Now that I’m a junior, I’ve worked three years for this title and it’s something that I am holding so close to my heart, trying to hold on to every single moment, every memory, every picture, every person that I meet,” Painting said. 

From a family of educators, Painting was homeschooled. Growing up on a farm in Amite, Painting said she believes her experience plays a significant role in who she is. 

“It’s a part of who I am, I feel like I can put on a crown and sash and wear heavy makeup, or I can just go outside and put on rubber boots and jump in the mud. It’s different vibes,” Painting added. 

Painting chose Southeastern because her mother and aunt are both Green and Gold alumni. As a junior marketing major, Painting said she hopes to work with a marketing firm and run their social media after graduation, with the long term goal of eventually being a CEO or owner of a marketing firm. 

During her path to Miss Southeastern, Painting claimed her first crown when she won Miss Lagniappe 2022, which gave her the chance to compete in the Miss Louisiana pageant. 

In addition to winning the competition, Painting also won the talent portion. Although Painting danced her whole life and chose dancing as her talent in the past year, she decided to sing for the judges, performing “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables.

“Being a dancer my whole life, I was always in the spotlight, but never liked to vocalize it. I was really shy growing up, so dancing was like my outlet for me to express everything without having to speak or say. So singing was like, I can never do that. I was always so scared, too. But it was my mom who convinced me to express myself,” Painting said. 

For the annual Miss Southeastern competition, each contestant must select a social impact initiative. Painting chose to bring awareness to “Test to Know the Rest,” promoting newborn screening for rare genetic diseases. Painting chose her initiative to support her two sisters who suffer from a rare genetic disease and were not diagnosed until later in life. 

Painting said she plans to raise awareness for her impact initiative by lighting up the University Center again with blue, green, pink and purple, the colors of Rare Disease Day. 

Throughout her journey, Painting has made amazing friendships that will last a lifetime. She said she would like to thank and owe all her support to God, family and friends. 

Miss Southeastern 2021 Lily Gayle said on behalf of Painting, “Kobi is just the perfect example of poise with a learned dedication that she has seen both Megan and I work so hard to portray as a university titleholder. Keep an eye on Miss Kobi, she is a risk taker, a diplomat, a beautiful young woman that I have been able to watch grow into a strong confident woman who has found her voice and intends to use it every day she has that crown and sash.”

Painting said she plans to continue competing in the Miss America Organization as an advocate for young women.  

“I definitely plan to continue competing. Miss America is about sponsoring young women and helping young women grow in their lives and their futures. It’s not about, ‘oh, this is a beautiful woman. Let’s pick her because she’s beautiful.’ It’s about a beautiful mind and a beautiful heart and what she can do for her community,” Painting further explained.