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The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Miss LA recap: A memorable week for all

Samantha Sims
(From left to right) Kiera Owens, Lily Gayle, Kobi Painting, Megan Magri and Kyndall Smith taking a minute to pose for a picture at Miss Louisiana’s Welcome Dinner.

From June 11 to June 18, five SLU students ventured to Monroe to compete in the 60th annual Miss Louisiana competition. 

The five contestants from Southeastern included Miss Southeastern 2023 Kobi Painting, Miss Slidell Lily Gale, Miss Acadiana Kyndall Smith, Miss Cane River Kiera Owens and Miss Twin Cities Megan Magri. 

The week included several preliminary events such as welcome dinners, fashion shows, press conferences and plenty of practice for the competition. It concluded with scholarship winners, two SLU students placing in the Top 10 and plenty of memories. 

After reflecting on the week in Monroe, Kiera Owens admitted she enjoyed the busy week. 

“At some point during the week you forget about the competition and crown because you get caught up in all the fun of appearances and activities,” Owens said. 

Kobi Painting and Kyndall Smith said they enjoyed forming connections, reconnecting and building a sisterhood with other contestants. 

Although everyone can say they enjoyed meeting everyone and the events, everyone had different moments they were proud of in the competition. 

Kyndall Smith won a scholarship for the Community Service Award first runner-up. Despite winning the scholarship, she was proud of herself for showcasing her talent. This was her second time performing in about three years, but she didn’t let that stop her from singing. 

“I am proud of myself and my ability to be able to pick up right where I left off when it comes to performing,” she said. 

For Megan Magri, she said she is proud of winning the Woman in STEM scholarship for the second year in a row, making her feel like her hard work is paying off. “It was such a huge accomplishment because I pride myself in my academics and how hard I work to achieve the grades that I do,” Magri said. 

Lily Gayle made it to the Top 10 and was the first person to walk the stage for the newly incorporated fitness portion of the competition. That is the moment she is most proud of. 

“It was so humbling to be able to be on that stage and show people that beauty doesn’t have a size or shape, it’s all in how you present yourself on stage,” Gayle said. 

Painting also placed in the Top 10 this year, which was her goal going into Miss Louisiana Week. This was a proud accomplishment for her.

“I ran to my spot with Jourdan Waddell and we were both crying…I was overwhelmed and so grateful to be chosen,” Painting said. 

Owens had the honor to meet the first African American Miss Louisiana, Anita Whitaker. For her, this was the best moment of the week because Whitaker is an inspiration. 

“She told me, ‘Imagine how many young girls you are inspiring,’” Owens recalled. 

Some of the SLU girls have begun to look forward to the 61st Miss Louisiana Competition. They are thinking about the titles they would like to return with, setting goals and contemplating how to achieve their goals. 

Smith said she hopes to return to Miss Louisiana next year, holding the title of Miss Southeastern 2024. But no matter her title, she plans to continue working with her vocal and interview coach to be her best self for the competition. 

Magri is focusing on winning a local title so she can enter the Miss Louisiana competition. 

Gayle plans to keep enrolling and aiming to win the crown if that is what’s in store for her. 

“I let myself cry, laugh, be proud, and disappointed, but at the same time it also fuels the fire to keep going because at the end of the day, I’m the only one I am trying to beat,” Gayle said. 

Painting said she looks forward to returning to the organization, building irreplaceable memories and continuing her growth. 

Although Owens noted she isn’t sure if she is returning, she hopes for two things: to either win a non-finalist award or place in the Top 10. She hopes African Americans are represented better in the competition and organization. 

You can follow the Miss Louisiana organization on Instagram @misslouisianaorg or visit their website.

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About the Contributor
Samantha Sims, Campus Life Editor
Samantha Sims is a Communication Major with a concentration in Strategic Communication. She is from Gretna, LA and joined The Lion’s Roar staff in September 2022. She loves to execute her passions for photography, writing, reading, and connecting with others by working at Student Publications. She was recently promoted to Campus & Community Editor. You can usually catch her anywhere on campus, so don’t hesitate to say hi!
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