Clark County will be well represented at the 2012 Miss Kentucky Pageant this weekend in Lexington.
A former Miss Clark County Fair and the daughter of a former Miss Kentucky will both be vying for the opportunity to represent the state at the Miss America Pageant in January.
Brooke Powell, 18, won the title of Miss Belle of Louisville, and Annie Franklin, 19, will compete as Miss Monticello.
For Franklin, this year’s pageant will mark her third attempt at the crown, and the continuation of a quest she began during her senior year at George Rogers Clark High School while trying to earn scholarship money. Her mother, Mikka Darby Franklin, Miss Kentucky 1988, was able to attend school for free thanks to money provided by the Miss Kentucky organization, so the younger Franklin thought she would give the pageant circuit a try.
“I decided to compete in a preliminary just for fun,” Franklin said.
She won her preliminary pageant, Miss Berea Area, also her first time competing in a pageant, and participated in the Miss¿Kentucky Pageant for the first time in 2010.
“My goal is to be Miss Kentucky. That’s a dream of mine I’ve always had, even though I haven’t been in pageants before,” Franklin said.
In 2010, she was the fourth runner-up. In 2011, she placed in the Top 13. This year, however, the goal is a lot bigger — Franklin said she is competing to win.
“Watching my mom, I’ve always secretly wanted to be in a pageant and be just like her. Coming here, I’ve found my own reasons to love it, and that’s why I keep coming back, because I want this job,” Franklin said.
Currently a theater major at Morehead State University, Franklin said she is excited to use the Miss Kentucky experience to promote her platform of arts education. She hopes to form her own non-profit in the coming months to expand arts in public schools
“I’ve definitely learned a lot, but not only within the pageant, I think my maturity level has grown, too. You meet so many intelligent women here,” Franklin said.
Brooke Powell will come to the Miss Kentucky pageant with more pageant experience under her belt, having competed since she was 13 years old. In 2010, she became Miss Clark County Fair and competed at the Miss Kentucky County Fair Pageant. This weekend will be her first appearance at the Miss America preliminary, where she will be one of the youngest competitors.
“I definitely feel prepared. I think I’ve practiced all I need to, and I have a lot of experience in the past,” Powell said.
Being a young competitor doesn’t bother her, Powell said.
“Some would say it’s a disadvantage. I would say it’s an advantage, because I think it shows I’m confident, and I’m not afraid to compete against 24-year-olds," she said.
A recent George Rogers Clark High School graduate, Powell plans to attend Western Kentucky University this fall and major in broadcast journalism.
Like Franklin, she is looking forward to the opportunity to bring more attention to her platform: the American Heart Association. Powell, her father and her sister all suffer from Long QT Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects the heart’s rhythm. Although the syndrome is controlled through medication, Powell said she understands the importance of heart health.
This weekend will be the first time Powell and Franklin have competed against one another, although Powell said she has attended the Miss Kentucky Pageant the past two years to see Franklin compete.
Having a hometown friend to share the experience has been fun for both women, who say there is no animosity between them.
“I feel like she’s my little sister,” Franklin said. “I’ve just taken her under my wing, and we’ve had a really good time.”
The pageant finals will be 7 p.m. Saturday at the University of Kentucky’s Singletary Center for the Arts.
Tickets are available at the Singletary Center Ticket Office.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.