Story by JOYANNA LOVE
Allison Giles of Maplesville was no stranger to the local pageant scene when she signed up for Miss Chilton County in 2019.
She had competed in the Junior Miss competition for the past two years, taking first alternate both time.
As one of the youngest contestants in the Miss category, her win this year came as a surprise.
“It was crazy,” Giles said, commenting that there were two girls who had been doing this awhile that she especially thought had a chance at winning.
“Being the first time competing in Miss is kind of scary, too,” Giles said.
The moment her name was called as the 2019 Miss Chilton County left her speechless.
Giles said she gained experience and friendships competing in many of the other local pageants when she was younger but never won a title.
In preparation for the Miss competition, Giles practiced in front of a mirror for her onstage introduction and her five-minute interview.
The interview is conducted before the pageant in front of a panel of three judges.
“I definitely love having a queen sister; that’s definitely my favorite,” Giles said. “One of my favorite parts of Miss Chilton is getting to know them.
She said she has also enjoyed volunteering in the community as a part of her reign.
The Evening Lions Club, which holds the Miss Chilton County pageant, awarded Giles $2,000 in college scholarship funds for winning the title.
“I am going to use that for Jeff State,” Giles said. “I want to be a pediatric nurse when I grow up. That’s always been my dream. I love kids.”
She said participating in pageants helped her develop her interview skills that will help her achieve this goal.
“Pageants have helped me so much because most people just think of a pageant as walking on stage and getting hair and makeup done all that kind of stuff, but it’s so much more,” Giles said. “Interview has always been my weakest part and the more I do a pageant that better I get at the interview.”
She said the pageant coordinator Debbie King has also helped her in her years in the pageant.
This past school year when she was in 10th grade, Giles applied to the health science program at LeCroy Career Technical Center.
An interview was required.
“Through pageants it just helped me to open up and have confidence” during the interview and to make her dream come true, Giles said.
Giles said 90 students were called in for interviews, and 40 students were selected to participate.
Giles was one of them.
She said this is one of the largest groups they have accepted into the two-year program.
Graduates of the program are certified as nurse assistants.
After high school, Giles plans to attend two years at Jefferson State Community and then attend UAB or the University of South Alabama.
As Miss Chilton County, Giles has participated in local ribbon cuttings, the Peach Parade and volunteer projects. Along with her queen sisters, Giles has donated supplies to Butterfly Bridge and helped clean the bathhouses at Raleigh’s Place.
She said she had not known about these nonprofits prior to these events.
During Maplesville Heritage Day, the girls coordinated mini-train rides for children to raise funds for Relay for Life.
“It was cool to bring my home(town) to the Miss Chilton County rather than staying just in Clanton,” Giles said.
Giles hopes to be a part of events in other towns and cities of the county during her reign.
The queens also participated in Relay for Life.
During a visit to see the Capitol, Sen. Cam Ward gave them a tour and introduced them to Gov. Kay Ivey.
“I had never been to the Capitol before,” Giles said. “We got to meet the governor, so that’s pretty cool.”
Giles said she is also looking forward to helping the Evening Lions Club establish more scholarship opportunities for contestants through raising funds and helping to establish partnerships.
Giles participated in her first pageant, the Peach Pageant, at the age of 12. She did not place. However, the kindess shown to her by a fellow contestant, Zoey Collum, made her want to continue participating.
“She just showed kindness to me and showed me the fun of doing pageants,” Giles said. “… having that friendship made me want to keep doing pageants.”
Giles said she has met about half of her friends through pageants.
With each pageant, Giles said she gained confidence to keep going after a title.
Giles said she enjoys being able to show other girls her age that they can w