Young crowned for beauty and talent

The Lion’s Roar / Alex Brainard
Miss Southeastern 2015 Emily Randon (above left) ends her year of reign by crowning Miss Southeastern 2016 Brianna Young, continuing a 57 year legacy. Young left the beauty pageant with not only bragging rights but one year’s tuition, local Miss America Crown, 1,000 dollar clothing allowance, opportunity to compete for Miss Louisiana, recognition at many Southeastern and community events, commemorative keepsake and a dozen golden roses. 

Six women walked across the stage competing for the coveted title of Miss Southeastern 2016 at the 57th Annual Miss Southeastern Pageant, with only one being able to walk away with the crown as well as the right to represent the university over the next year.

On Saturday, October 24 in the Pottle Music Auditorium six contestants competed in the categories of fitness, talent, evening wear and on-stage question. A private interview with the judges on current issues and each girl’s platform took place before the pageant. Each category counted for a percentage of their final score. The event was sponsored through Campus Activities Board with the theme “A Night Dedicated to Dance.”

Audience members cheered for their favorite participants throughout the evening until the crowning moment came, with the judges announcing categorical awards and runner ups before the crowning of Miss Southeastern 2016. The audience applauded as Abbie Chiasson was titled third runner up, Alexis LaPlante second runner up and Nancy Peck first runner up.

The final cheer of the evening was given as Miss Southeastern 2015 Emily Randon gave the new crown to Miss Southeastern 2016 Brianna Young.

“It was surreal,” said junior mass communication major Young.

Though only one contestant left crowned, it was an exhilarating experience nonetheless for participants.

“It was really a fun and new experience,” said junior English education major Chiasson. “It was definitely new and fun to meet all the contestants. My favorite part was meeting the girls. They are really sweet.”

Though Miss Southeastern takes place every year, each competition is unique in its own way.

“I competed in Miss Southeastern last year and it was definitely a new experience [this year],” said junior communication major Nancy Peck. “It was different contests, had a whole different vibe and different theme. It made the pageant totally different.”

Outside the interview and on-stage question, each participant enjoyed using the other categories to show their inner personality to the judges.

“My favorite part was the swimsuit,” said junior kinesiology major Alexis LaPlante. “It was just so fun to get out there and show my personality.”

Others enjoyed being able to show off their evening wear for the judges.

“My favorite part was evening wear,” said Young. “I really took the time to pick a dress that represented my personality and the judges apparently agreed with me. It was reassuring that people liked my dress as much as I did.”

With a year ahead for Young as Miss Southeastern 2016, she is looking forward to all that is expected as well as Miss Southeastern responsibilities.

“I didn’t expect it, but I am so humbled and excited for the year ahead of me,” said Young. “I’m really excited for the year ahead and I can’t wait to get involved as much as I can for this next year.”

As the crowning of Young has now taken place, forever Miss Southeastern 2015 recalls some of the fondest moments from the last year.

“By participating in pageants, I have not only been able to express myself in a creative way, but I have also been pushed to work harder towards my future career,” said senior kinesiology major Randon. “I will be graduating next semester and plan on working towards obtaining my doctorate in physical therapy. I feel so honored to be known in history as one of only a handful of women to be named Miss Southeastern. In fact, I teach dance at Fellom Ballet for former Miss Southeastern 1970 Dr. Martie Fellom.”

Randon hopes that over the next year Young not only appreciates every moment as Miss Southeastern but wants all to remember every contestant reigns in their own right.

“Cherish every moment, be kind to everyone you meet and wear as much green and gold as possible,” said Randon. “Although only one girl could walk away with the crown, each one of the contestants is a queen. They all worked so hard and that showed on the stage. I was so happy to crown my successor Brianna Young. I encourage everyone to continue to support her as she embarks on this amazing journey.”