Baylor girls represent at Miss Texas PageantJan. 20, 2010
Dunn and Couch congratulate each other on their new titles: Miss Plano and Miss Frisco.
By Erin Nipper
Most people can't explain what butt glue is.
"I had never heard of it before I went to Miss Texas," Coppell senior DaNae Couch. "You put it on your swimsuit during lifestyle and fitness competition so that it doesn't ride up while you are walking across the stage."
Couch was first-runner-up for the title of Miss Texas last year and said did not know what she was expecting when she entered the pageant world.
"I didn't realize how much work it is," Couch said. "I watch the girls on Miss America on TV and assume they've been practicing their talent for years, and modeling for years. I think that so many people watch pageants and think that it's just modeling on stage, but it's so much more than that."
Coppell sophomore Kathryn Dunn agrees that pageants have little to do with physical beauty.
"When you win Miss Texas you have so many opportunities to meet and influence people. Anyone can better themselves," Dunn said. Bettering oneself is exactly what the Miss America Organization is about.
"The girls earn scholarship money for school, experience personal growth, enhance their communication skills and get the opportunity to network and be involved in their communities," said Duc Nguyen, Executive Director of the Miss Southeast Texas pageant, a preliminary to Miss Texas.
"I ended up getting $8,000 towards my Baylor tuition," said Dunn, who placed in the top five at the pageant last summer. Couch said she earned $7,800 for school, and while potential scholarship money is one reason girls choose to participate in the pageant, the Miss America and Miss Texas Organizations build up more than financial security for college; they build character.
"I've learned how to be a leader and a servant-leader," Couch said.
Couch and Dunn are not the only two girls from Baylor to participate in the Miss Texas pageant, and they are not the only two who have made an impressive showing.
"My last two titleholders have been from Baylor," Nguyen said." Most of the girls from Baylor have done well at the Miss Texas pageant."
But why have they done well? Is it something in the Waco water?
"I think one of the great things that I've learned here at Baylor is how to be a leader," Couch said. "I am involved in a lot of organizations on campus, most of which deal with helping others. Anyone who wants to be Miss Texas or Miss America should know how to do those things. Miss America enriches lives. I think if I would've gone to another school I wouldn't fully understand what that means."
Women who participate in the pageant compete in four phases of competition: private interview, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, talent and presence and poise in an evening gown.
It is not uncommon for those who are unfamiliar with pageants to have a misconception of the girls who choose to participate in them.
"For some reason this society doesn't want to see beautiful women succeed in life," Dunn said. "Of course if they are competing in a pageant, where it seems like they are being judged on their physical beauty, they will do whatever they can to tear that apart."
Couch sympathized with Dunn.
"Most people think that tongue-in-cheek it is called a scholarship organization," Couch said. "It's not about complimenting your physical beauty, it literally is a scholarship organization."
At the Miss Texas Winter Meeting held on Saturday, the reigning Miss Texas, Kristin Blair, spoke to title holders who will be competing for the Miss Texas title this June in Arlington.
"It is a privilege for you to be here ... You are a part of something great," Blair said.
Blair will leave Thursday for Las Vegas, where she will compete for the Miss America crown on January 30.
She previewed her Miss America competition wardrobe to guests at a dinner on Saturday night following the meeting.
"Kristen is such a wonderful role model for all of us," Couch said. "She's a wonderfully articulate, fit, talented young woman that I expect to do great things at Miss America. We are lucky to have her as our representative."
Dunn believes that being a role model starts long before the Miss Texas crown is placed on a girl's head.
"It starts the minute you walk onstage at a local [pageant]. You have to be Miss Texas all the time," Dunn said.
Although Dunn has a goal to be Miss Texas, she said she still down to Earth.
"I am not your typical pageant girl," Dunn said. "During the week, I'm Baylor Kathryn. On the weekends, I'm pageant Kathryn."