Freshman class inspires 2017 Miss UNA theme

Miss UNA 2015 Rachel Wammack crowns Jocelyn Barnes as Miss UNA 2016. Eighteen women competed in the pageant Jan. 23 2016.

by Life Editor Monday Sanderson

UNA will give a “roaring” welcome to its 43rd Miss UNA pageant Jan. 21. The theme for the pageant will be the “Roaring 20s.”

“Every year we have a different theme chosen by Miss UNA,” said Director of Student Engagement Tyler Thompson.

The theme represents the freshman class of 2020, said Jocelyn Barnes, 2015-16 Miss UNA.

“I was head SOAR counselor for the freshman class of 2020, and that was a really big thing for me,” she said. “That’s where I got the 20’s (idea) from. The ‘roaring’ comes from us being the Lions. I also love ‘The Great Gatsby.’ So, I thought this would be a cool, fun theme, and it pays homage to our freshman class.”

Sophomore Dru Sizemore said this is a clever theme.

The contestants only work with the theme in the opening number, Barnes said.

“They get to dress up in the style of the ‘20s,” she said. ‘“They’ll get to wear the cocktail dresses and have similar hairstyles. Other than that, the theme will mostly be seen in the decorations and music.”

Thompson said there are 12 contestants.

Music professor Lloyd Jones will compose the score and conduct the orchestra for the night, Thompson said.

“There are five phases they have to go through,” he said. “The participants will have an interview before the pageant, and then they compete in fitness in swimsuit, evening wear, talent and on stage questions.”

The talent portion is worth the most points with 30 percent of the overall score.

Barnes said she first participated in the pageant in 2014.

“I originally competed for the scholarships,” she said. “I had never participated or watched a pageant before this. When I first started, my thoughts were, ‘These girls are going to be catty, and they’re going to be mean. They’re all going to be at each other’s throats.’”

Barnes said her perception of pageants has changed.

“It’s been really fun and a lot of hard work,” she said. “Before you get crowned, you don’t realize how much work goes into being Miss UNA, but it is like a job. The girls who compete against each other are kind and supportive of each other.”

Freshman TyYonna Hill said while pageants have benefits, she would not go to Miss UNA.

“I think that pageants are great ways for girls to gain confidence, poise and sometimes scholarships, but I also believe that they do the total opposite of that, and the idea of ‘pretty people win’ should not be celebrated or expressed.”

Thompson said the winner of Miss UNA will move on to compete in the Miss Alabama pageant.

“I learned a lot by going to the state competition,” Barnes said. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things.”

Barnes said she hopes this year’s competition is different from previous years.

“I want (the theme) to show how much I love UNA,” she said. “Miss UNA has been an amazing thing that I’ve been a part of, but it’s not the only thing I’m involved in. So, I want everyone to feel like they’ve been honored through this pageant.”

Students can receive free tickets from the Student Engagement Center. Tickets went on sale Jan. 5.