Winner of the 60th annual Lady of the Bracelet pageant Erika Jarlock tearfully accepted her crown in front of an audience of hundreds of people; a goal she had worked months for finally came to fruition.
This was Jarlock’s fourth pageant and her second time competing in the Lady of the Bracelet pageant.
“I started preparing for LOB the moment I got out of Miss Louisiana last summer,” she said. “I’m beyond thrilled to wear this bracelet and hope to represent NSU as well as the previous ladies.”
Contestants must raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network in order to compete. This year’s contestants raised a combined $2,150. The pageant awards the contestant who raises the most money with a $250 scholarship – an accolade given to contestant Emily Bencosme, who raised $524. Jarlock herself raised $100, which she accomplished by taking money out of her paychecks each week.
In addition to the Children’s Miracle Network, Jarlock advocates for school creative and performing arts programs. With her platform “Reaching for the arts; keeping all forms of art in our schools and communities,” she hopes to increase awareness of the importance of children having access to creative outlets as a way of expanding education.
“This is an opportunity to raise awareness for my platform: the arts. What better place to do this than at the school that has the best fine arts program in the state?” she said.
The junior musical theatre major has loved the arts since her childhood. Her rendition of “Gimme Gimme” from Broadway musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” – a song she has sung since age 15 – won her the talent portion of Saturday’s pageant.
Beyond music, Jarlock loves theatre and dance.
“Without acting, singing isn’t as powerful,” she said. “If you can’t tell the story with your face, how will the audience comprehend what your character is going through? I love being able to feel the words of a monologue or song and share it with others.”
First runner-up and People’s Choice recipient Jourdan Waddell was ecstatic while delivering her speech at the press conference following the pageant.
“This is my first pageant,” she said. “Literally a month ago I was at an informational, and now I’m here. I’m so thankful for the sisterhood I’ve gained through this process.”
Other scholarship winners included second runner-up Aly Jacobs, third runner-up and swimsuit portion winner Abigail Reynolds, fourth runner-up Reagan Escudé and Miss Congeniality Madison Farquhar.
First-place winner Jarlock will spend the next year representing NSU at events locally and across the state and will compete in the 2018 Miss Louisiana pageant.
Miss Northwestern additionally wins free textbooks, a meal plan, $1,000 and a free trip to the Miss Louisiana pageant. Sponsored by the Student Activities Board, the pageant has awarded thousands of dollars to winners throughout its 60-year existence.
In her farewell address, Miss Northwestern 2017 Maria Rome described her experience as “magical.”
“This is such an important job. But more importantly, it is an honor,” she said. “I have grown so much in these past few months, and I have learned that anything is possible if you dream big and work hard.”