Jacksonville State University crowned its 38th Miss Jacksonville State University on Friday, January 10, 2020. Camden Swatts, crowned Miss Jacksonville State University in 2017, was crowned Miss Jacksonville State University again, on January 10.
Last Friday, a new Miss JSU was crowned for 2019, following fierce competition between the six contestants competing for the title. Darby Angel was crowned Miss JSU 2019.
Angel is a junior from Dallas, Texas majoring in sports management. The platform she chose to support was “Precious as Rubies” which aims to help women who have experienced sexual violence on college campuses. In her opening statement as Miss Jacksonville State University on Instagram Angel stated, “I am absolutely over the moon for this incredible opportunity. Jacksonville State, I promise to represent you to the best of my ability. This year is about to be so life changing and eye opening and I cannot wait to get started.”
During the onstage question portion, we saw a glimpse of the contestants’ interview with the judges from earlier in the day. The subjects of the questions were varied, from current issues like the government shutdown to vaccination laws. Courtney Williams shared that she had lost a close friend to the flu and that influenced her opinion on laws regarding vaccinations. Williams also was also second runner up for the title. Taylor Snider was not only first runner up, but also won the swimsuit portion.
Talent ranged from a vocal and trumpet piece performed by Angelica Luna to a lively tap number to 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton which helped Angel win the talent portion and the crown.
The pageant’s theme was “Legacy.” This theme was chosen by Miss JSU 2018, Miss Lauren Reaves, to tell the young woman who would be taking her place that she would be making an impact with this title. Reaves’ farewell was a heartfelt tribute to her reign which included her “Rising Star” Addison Claire and Reaves doing the “floss” dance together. Reaves also included a special thank you to her mother thanking her for being her “Miss America.” She will be returning to the Miss Alabama pageant in June as Miss Hamilton 2019. Miss Alabama 2000, Jana Sanderson, was a magnificent emcee and helped elaborate on how hard Lauren has worked during her reign and how difficult it is to stand up on stage after the holidays in a swimsuit.
Miss Jacksonville State University is an official preliminary to the Miss Alabama Pageant for the Miss America Organization. Miss America is one of the leading scholarship organizations for women in the world. Miss JSU, 1st alternate, and 2nd alternate all received scholarships towards their pursuit of education at Jacksonville.
On January 12, ten beautiful, intelligent and classy women stepped onto the stage in Leone Cole Auditorium and gave it their all in the hopes of being crowned Miss Jacksonville State University 2018.
One contestant, Lauren Reaves, impressed the judges the most, not just in one category, but overall. Reaves won the talent portion of the pageant and was ultimately named Miss JSU 2018, following her predecessor, Camden Swatts.
The psychology major is very excited about her upcoming journey, but the road to her title required hard work.
Reaves’ philanthropy platform is Autism Speaks, a national advocacy organization that sponsors research and outreach for those affected by autism and education opportunities for communities, families and government entities.
“I plan to get my Master’s degree in Behavioral Analysis, so I can forever work with children that are on the Autism Spectrum,” Reaves told JSU. “My heart absolutely melts for people with Autism, which is why I love volunteering my time with my platform.”
Reaves’s winning talent performance was a Micheal Jackson rendition on flute. She describes winning the talent category as “so exciting and rewarding.” As a flute player since seventh grade, her work from the past years amounted to something magnificent.
“Winning the whole competition,” Reaves said, “was such a shocking moment. I had no idea I was capable of winning it all.”
Reaves also says how proud she is for being so prepared. For her stage question, she stayed informed with current events while developing her own opinions and articulate thoughts on political matters in order to fully and confidently answer the question that would be given to her.
Her biggest preparation was for the fitness category. She started working with trainer and she put herself on a nutrition plan. She said she continuously disciplined herself by making herself hit the gym even on the days where she did not want to go.
“The overall experience was overwhelming—but in a good way!” Reaves said.
Reaves’ advice to future contestants is to “go for the title. It can be intimidating at first, because of all of preparation required, but you learn so much about yourself, and the whole experience of just competing is so worth it.”
At JSU, Reaves is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority and a JSU Ambassador.
Taylor Anne Beckham was named first runner-up; Kelsey Lenard was named second runner-up; Breanna Lucas was named third runner-up, and Courtney Williams was named fourth runner-up at the pageant.
Last Friday night, Leone Cole Auditorium was booming with people who came to watch the singing, dancing, and funny jokes at this year’s annual Miss JSU scholarship pageant.
The Miss America program has 53 pageants throughout the country (including Miss JSU) and remains the world’s largest scholarship giver to young women.
Nine of our very own JSU students participated in this event which was themed “Old Hollywood.” Jessica Hill, Ashton Hamil, Jesslan Sharp, Alexis Gravlee, Kacey Jacobs, Marissa Law, Abbey Walker, Kaleigh Garner, and our new Miss JSU Cortlyn Watson were among the competitors.
The competition is scored is based upon the following categories: evening wear (20%), private interview (25%), lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit (15%), talent (35%) and the on-stage question (5%).
The talent competition was especially tough, with acts ranging from opera singing to piano playing to clogging and dancing and even several monologues.
This year there were many prestigious judges, including head judge Tanya Pettway, who in 1986 was the first African American to take home a Miss America title.
Before our new Miss JSU was crowned, however, our past Miss JSU 2014 Jayme Wagner took her emotional final walk. Wagner then joined this year’s contestants in a final dance to “That’s Entertainment,” and finally Kacey Jacobs took the second runner up position and Kaleigh Garner took the title of first runner up.
Taking home not only a scholarship worth up to sixteen hours for two semesters, a JSU Campus Bookstore scholarship, a free manicure and several other prizes.
Watson also took home the title for the Swimsuit competition.
When asked about her reaction to being crowned Miss JSU, Watson said she was “excited, speechless… I just busted out in tears, I was so happy.”
Watson’s father, Stan, was also very excited about his daughter’s new title. “She has worked so hard to get here ever since she has been a baby… Her dream has always been to be in the Miss Alabama pageant and now she’s just one step closer. We are very supportive of all these girls and are very proud of everyone who competed!” he said.
Watson will go on to compete at the Miss Alabama competition this June.