Though the 2017 Miss Louisiana Pageant is officially over and NSU contestants are not walking away with the title, the participants are leaving the experience with new friends, skills and memories that will prepare them for future endeavors.
Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet Maria Rome walked the stage of Miss Louisiana 2017 for the first time this year.
One of the most important lessons Rome took from her time at the pageant is to be herself, because opinions of others should not matter.
“It’s not about the competition between you and the other girls; it’s the competition between you and yourself,” Rome said.
In the next several months, Rome is looking forward to her time reigning as Lady of the Bracelet and venturing out into the community to serve others.
Another takeaway Rome mentioned is the memories made with Miss Spirt of Ruston Meagan Crews and newly-crowned Miss Louisiana, Laryssa Bonacquisti. Rome credits the two women for helping her calm down during the night of her first preliminary onstage interview question.
“I was sitting at dinner with [Meagan and Laryssa],” Rome said. “[They] gave me an hour’s worth of pep talk and how I just needed to be myself.”
Later that night after Rome answered her question, she walked directly to Bonacquisti and Crews, hugged them and collapsed into them, relieved, saying “I answered the question.”
Miss Louisiana Port City Hannah Teutsch walked the stage of Miss Louisiana for the third time during this year’s pageant.
Teutsch said the 32 contestants of Miss Louisiana had the chance to video chat with current Miss America Savvy Shields. It was during that conversation Teutsch found a piece of guidance to bring home with her.
“This [pageant] is not our peak; this moment here at Miss Louisiana is not the peak in our lives. It’s only the beginning of so much more,” Teutsch said.
Shields’ advice helped Teutsch realize it did not matter whether or not she won the crown or if she won scholarship money. What matters most is that she has “grown completely and fully” into the person she truly is.
“I know that I am more confident [and] that I’m prepared for life in general… because of this organization,” Miss Louisiana Port City said.
Teutsch and Rome’s opinions differ on whether or not to compete again in local pageants for the chance to return to the Miss Louisiana stage.
“I’m planning on competing in local pageants again to hopefully get back to Miss Louisiana,” Teutsch said. “[I want] to be even more confident in myself [so] I can just get on that stage and be better than I was before.”
Rome, on the other hand, is not totally sure about her decision to compete again.
“I’m thinking about trying to go back – maybe doing another preliminary pageant, [but] it’s not set in stone yet.”
Both Rome and Teutsch agree the Miss Louisiana Organization and their experiences helped them grow in different ways. For Rome, it was finding new friends during the pageant; for Teutsch, it was learning new ways to better prepare for life in general.
No matter what happens to these competitors in years to come, one thing is certain: their time with the Miss Louisiana Organization has created lasting memories and taught them skills that have prepared them to conquer the rest of their lives.