Of the county’s two young women vying for the title of Miss South Carolina, one is secure in the knowledge of what the pageant will be like. The other is excited by the opportunity to bask in the glow of the state’s brightest stage.
Catie Rawl of Laurens is a rising junior at the University of South Carolina who participated in the 2018 pageant at Columbia’s Township Auditorium. Last year she qualified as Miss Greenville County. This year she’s Miss Boiling Springs.
“I feel great going into this years pageant,” Rawl said. “I have really put my heart into preparing for this year’s competition. Last year’s experience is one I will forever be grateful for. I learned so much about the program, my platform, myself and so much more. I feel extremely prepared going into pageant week.”
Hannah Wilson of Clinton is a rising junior at Lander University who earned her spot by winning the Miss Lander pageant.
“Miss Lander University was the first pageant I was ever in, which makes the Miss South Carolina Pageant the second pageant I’ve ever been in,” Wilson said. “I am sure there will certain things along the way that I would’ve done differently to begin with, but I am headed into this pageant focused on being myself. I am not a ‘pageant girl’ by any means, but that’s okay. That is what makes this so special to me.”
But she has the exuberance that comes with a new experience.
“I am not really nervous, to be completely honest,” Wilson said. “Dancing and performing since the age of two years old, the stage does not bother me; it excites me.
“Nervous wouldn’t be the word I would use to describe how I feel. I am just grateful. Grateful for the opportunities God has blessed me with. Grateful to be able to be a part of such a wonderful organization. I do feel as though I have prepared as much as I can.”
There is no current Miss Laurens County in the Miss South Carolina pageant, but there will be a third young woman from the county competing in the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant. Laurens District High School’s Bayley Burns won the Miss Upstate Teen pageant.
“What a lot of people don’t know about the Miss South Carolina Pageant is that you don’t have to be from the town that you you represent in the pageant,” Wilson noted. “To actually be a Lander University student and hold the title of Miss Lander University is special to me. Lander University, the town of Greenwood, and the town of Clinton have been nothing but supportive of me, and I can’t thank everyone enough.
“Living in a small town really has its advantages at times like these. What I have learned most of all is to be myself and be the best I can be.”
The Miss South Carolina Pageant will be held on Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m., at Township Auditorium. The winner will receive a $60,000 scholarship and compete at the Miss America pageant.
The Miss South Carolina Teen Pageant will be held on Friday, June 28, 8 p.m., at Township. The winner will compete at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition.
There will be three consecutive nights of preliminary competitions for both pageants on June 25-27, 7 p.m., Township Auditorium. Preliminary winners will be announced each night.