Walnut Cove’s Aubrianna and Adriane Lash are the new 2015 Pure American National Pageant Sweetharts, following the recent national competition in Orlando, Fla.
The mother/daughter duo have been competing in the pageant for the past three years. Last year they won state titles, but were unable to attend the national competition due to illnesses. This year they both won at the state level and the national level.
“It was amazing,” said Aubrianna, a rising fifth grader at Quality Education Academy in Forsyth County.
The pair travelled to Orlando, Fla., in late July for the multi-day competition.
“It was overwhelming,” said Adriane. “We had not just one participant, but two.”
She said they competed in a gown competition, two modeling competitions and an interview.
“We started out with an introduction on the first day where all 158 contestants had to get on stage and introduce ourselves,” she said. “Everybody loved Aubrianna because she had that Walnut Cove sass. She was nominated to carry in the state flag for North Carolina during the opening ceremony.”
The duo had to get up early each morning to make it to the competitions, and each night the pageant hosted a different evening event to allow all the contestants to get to know each other.
“We met all kinds of new people and got to hang out with our pageant sisters,” said Aubrianna.
“It was hard to compete against some of the other people because they were just beyond nice,” agreed her mother. “I have experienced niceness but this was actually awesome.”
The pair, while they thought they had done well, did not know how they had finished in the competition until the very last day.
“I was not expecting to win,” said Adriane. “I was just wanting to do something with my baby and try to enjoy it without being overly stressed.”
On the last day the pageant had a parade of gowns with all of the contestants followed by the announcement of the national winners.
“It was the most nerve racking of the days,” said Adriane.
“I felt like I might be a runner up because I was not very confident in myself with some of the things that I did,” said Aubrianna. “I was like okay, if I don’t win I will just come back next year and compete again.”
But as the runner-ups were named, she did not here her name,a t least until they named the 2015 Junior Miss Sweetheart.
“I was backstage screaming and hollering,” said Adriane. “the next thing I knew my dress had busted in the back. I was so glad she won because she went against some great girls who had been in pageants all their lives.”
Adriane’s pageant sisters helped her fix her dress before it was her turn to go on stage and find out how she had done.
“I said even if I get first runner up I am not going to cry,” she remembers. “But when they called the first runner up I was standing there looking crazy because that meant I had won. I was literally about to pass out because it was so amazing. Then I did the Miss American cry. I was shaking and crying and my make up started running. It was so amazing.”
The pair plan to use their new titles to help raise funds for some local causes.
Aubrianna said she plans to help collect food for the Stokes County Animal Shelter and her mother wants to improve the toys for girls at the Brenner’s Children Hospital.
“They want us to venture out and do things separately,” said Adriane. “Aubrianna had gotten sick back in April and when she went to Brenner’s there was not a much to do. I was like if I ever win this I am going to make sure that these little girls have something to do.”
Aubrianna said they are competing with other title winners for the title of Ultimate Sweetheart, which is determined by who does the most community service.
“We are going to go out and do as much community service as possible,” said Adriane. “If anybody wants help please contact us. You can find us on Facebook.”
She noted that the Pure American Pageant was great because it focused on total beauty and not just physical appearance.
“Pageants are not what you see on TV,” she said. “In this pageant the interview is the most important part of your score. The pretty gown you spend all that money on is not worth anywhere near as much as the interview.”
Children participants are not allowed to wear makeup and adult competitors are only allowed to wear “age appropriate” makeup.
“They want to see what your personality is,” said Adriane. “They want to see the real you.
“It is teaching you the basics of how to be a lady and represent yourself as a lady,” she added. “You do have the pretty dresses and the modeling, but that is not where your scores come from. Those come from who you are.
“I love the bling, but whether we have the crown on our head or not, we always wear our invisible crown and we are all our own queens and kings,” she added.
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.