Here’s some advice from Miss Alabama USA: “Be 100% yourself 100% of the time” – Opelika Auburn News

Here’s some advice from Miss Alabama USA: “Be 100% yourself 100% of the time”

The morning after being crowned Miss Alabama USA 2022, Katelyn Vinson sat down to talk about her experience and where she hopes to go from here.

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited for length and clarity

Vinson, 21, of Dothan, is the daughter of Valerie and Jeremy Vinson. She competed as Miss Dothan and was crowned Miss Alabama USA 2022 on Saturday evening by Miss Alabama 2021 Alexandria Flanigan. She is preparing to compete in the Miss USA pageant. The date and location for the pageant has not been announced yet.

Where are you from and where do you go to college?

I was born and raised in Dothan and there’s no other place I would want to represent. The people of Dothan are just extremely welcoming and encouraging, and it’s really been amazing to see how they’ve reacted in just the past 12 hours. It’s been very surreal to receive their support. It means the world to me.

I originally went to Samford University in Birmingham, and I really enjoyed my time there. But, I decided I wanted the SEC school experience, the football games and to be in a smaller town. Auburn has a great university with great students, but it also has a great family environment outside of the university.

What is your major and why did you choose it?

I’m a senior business administration major and marketing minor. I wanted to do something in business, and business administration gave me the opportunity to take classes in finance, accounting, management and marketing. I get to learn a little bit about all of them so that I can take different avenues with whatever comes up in my path in the future.

What groups/organizations are you a part of?

I’m a member of Women in Business. My sophomore year, when I transferred to Auburn, I took a leap and applied for the vice president of administration position. I didn’t expect to get it because Women in Business is made up of undergraduate students along with MBA candidates, but somehow I did.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I’m not quite sure the route I want to take yet, but I’ve just learned to be OK with the process. Ideally I would love to work in the music industry working with artists and making other people’s dreams a reality. I’ve always had this inner passion for music. I sing, play piano and guitar a little bit, but I have always just had a good ear for music. I really want to scout out talent and help other people, recruit for a record label and find people who have always dreamed of this and make their dreams come true.

Why did you decided to compete in this pageant?

Miss Alabama USA has been a lifelong goal for me. I really wasn’t raised in a pageant family. I didn’t grow up watching Miss USA on TV, but when I was 11 something in me just sparked. I decided I wanted to compete in pageants. I just decided I wanted to take it to the next level, and I jumped all in and worked really hard. Taking on the crown is an honor and I’m excited to get this year rolling.

What was your favorite part of the Miss Alabama experience?

Definitely the people. Everyone here is so encouraging. It’s nice to have people to remind you of who you are and whose you are, to pray over you, to encourage you and to hype you up before you go out on stage. RPM really produces a great pageant, and they make it so enjoyable for us so we’re not constantly focused on the element of competition. We’re also having a great time and growing into our best selves. That’s ultimately why I choose to do this, to grow into a better version of myself.

What skills have you gained and are there any you hope to improve?

Public speaking. I always struggled with onstage questions until last year I surprised myself. Tim Tialdo the MC was a huge part of that. He makes us feel extremely comfortable on the stage. This year even though the question was somewhat difficult, I felt confident, and I never thought I would be able to speak on a stage like that.

I think I’ll keep doing a lot of the same things that I have been. You can work on your walk and on your interview skills, but it really boils down to what you’re doing every day for your mental, spiritual and physical health. I’m going to adapt as I go.

What do you plan to do as Miss Alabama?

There is an organization in New York City called God’s Love We Deliver. They deliver meals that are specifically tailored to the needs of people who are suffering with different medical ailments or different kinds of cancer. It’s food that actually supports your body and it’s nutrient-dense food.

Food has been extremely healing for me with my own health issues, so I’ve seen the power of it. I would love to get a program similar to that started in the state of Alabama. That’s one of my main goals, but of course there are a million things I want to do this year.

How will being Miss Alabama help you reach your goals?

We’re going to have so many unique opportunities to network and make connections. That’s extremely important. Also, the skills that we’re learning through being in this position help with the networking itself because we’re learning how to talk to people, how to converse and to showcase our best version of ourselves.

What are your expectations for the Miss USA pageant?

Honestly, every time I think about it I can hardly believe that I’m going to Miss USA. It’s a big step for me, and I’m really excited to get started. I always competed in Miss Alabama USA to be Miss Alabama because I wanted to serve the state of Alabama. Now that I’ve met that goal and get to serve the state, I’m going to go all in for Miss USA, but right now, I’m just taking time to soak it in.

It’s a huge honor being Miss Alabama in and of itself. I’m excited to meet all the other girls that are competing for Miss USA because there are going to be so many remarkable women and I have a feeling it’s going to be a really good class.

What advice would you give to young girls?

Be 100% yourself 100% of the time because that is the best version you can give to anyone. I recently saw an Instagram post from Marley Stokes (Miss South Carolina USA 2021) that said, “Real girls aren’t perfect and perfect girls aren’t real.” I love that. In a world that’s so social media driven it’s easy to constantly step into the comparison trap. Just be in the moment, step back from that, know your worth, know who you are and know what makes you unique.

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