Miss Louisiana week: Five SLU contestants, one week, one crown


Haley Dupre'

Kobi Painting (left) poses with Miss Louisiana, Gracie Reichman, after being crowned as Miss Southeastern 2023.

Beginning June 11, five SLU students will travel to Monroe to compete in the annual Miss Louisiana competition. 

Miss Louisiana week will have several days of preliminary activities and segments that lead to the finale and the announcement of Miss Louisiana 2023. 

Five of Southeastern’s Lions will compete for the crown. Students and alum include Miss Southeastern 2023 Kobi Painting, Miss Slidell Lily Gale, Miss Acadiana Kyndall Smith, Miss Cane River Kiera Owens and Miss Twin Cities Megan Magri. 

These ladies have been working hard to prepare themselves for all portions of the competition. Some have been using similar practice methods, such as using mock interview questions and exercises for the fitness portion. 

However, some are approaching Miss Louisiana prep in different ways. For example, Gayle has been preparing herself mentally. 

“Peace has been a big word for me the last few months. If they like me, they like me; if they don’t then the title wasn’t meant for me this year,” she said.  

Each participant also discusses their own social initiative impact during the competition. Every contestant’s social initiative comes from personal experiences. 

Miss Southeastern’s “Test to Know the Rest” initiative was inspired by her two sisters who lived undiagnosed with a rare genetic disease for 20 years. She wants to encourage early screening to prevent her sisters’ stories from repeating.   

“I want the families of Louisiana to know that there is hope for early detection of rare genetics,” Painting said. 

Magri’s initiative, “Safe Start LA” focuses on the prevention and awareness of traumatic injuries to the brain. It was inspired by her academic studies and her own concussion in 2019 from which she still experiences side effects. 

“As a health science major and someone planning on getting their doctoral degree in public health, prevention is something that I am very passionate about,” Magri explained. 

For Magri, Gayle and Painting, this competition marks their return to the Miss Louisiana stage.  

Painting said she is grateful because her experience in 2021 allowed her to create lifelong friendships and encounter women in the organization. 

Gayle and Margi have competed in the competition together for the last two years. This has allowed them to create a flourishing friendship.

Gayle placed in the Top 10 in 2021 and 2022. She hopes to be named in the Top Five and win the competition this year. 

Meanwhile, Smith and Owens are novices when it comes to the Miss Louisiana competition. Although Smith has competed in the teen division of Miss Louisiana, this will be her first year competing in the competition as a Miss. 

Owens is looking forward to the evening wear portion of the competition. She believes each dress is unique to the delegates and special in some way.

All five of the girls are excited to show the judges their true selves, either through the interview session, talent portion, fashion show or all of the above. 

Most importantly, though, they have all expressed their anticipation for this time to compete and grow with each other. 

“Although it is an exciting week, it can get a little overwhelming. Having people around me that I am familiar with already will just help me feel more comfortable during competition week,” Smith stated. 

The ladies noted they are grateful for the support and encouragement they are receiving from friends and family as well. 

“My family has been supporting me through this whole process,” Owens said. “They are always there for me when I need help or just a word of encouragement.” 

For more information about the Miss Louisiana competition, go to its website.

To support these women as they take the stage at the Miss Louisiana competition, make sure to tune into local channels broadcasting the event: 

New Orleans: WUPL, Ch. 54 (WWL-My Network TV)

Lafayette/Lake Charles: KADN-TV-CW 

Alexandria: KALB, Ch.5 (NBC) 

Baton Rouge: WBTR, Ch. 41 (WBRZ-Inde)

Shreveport: KPXJ, Ch. 21 (KTBS-CW)

Morgan City, Thibodaux, Houma: KWBJ, Ch. 39 (WB)

Monroe: KNOE-TV 8