For the first time in history, two local women qualified and will compete in the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant, formerly the Miss Tennessee Pageant. Both women leave this week to prepare for the state beauty contest.
Kerri Arnold won the Miss Scenic City Pageant in Chattanooga on October 7. Kailey Duffy won Miss Greater Weakley County on February 16. Both pageants were preliminaries to the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant in Jackson that will take place June 19-22.
Arnold said that being confident in herself is key to being prepared. “I am really excited, I have 31 people going to support me and will be there to cheer me on,” Arnold said at her “send-off” party on Thursday.
Arnold said that she knew that she wanted to be in the Jackson pageant family ahead of time. “I fell in love with the organization and the directors make each girl is welcomed with open arms.”
Duffy said she has been in pageants her entire life. “I really got going after winning Fairest of the Fair in 2016, and found a platform to share my own story about fitting in after being adopted.” Speaking of her family, Duffy said her parents, Kenny and Linda Autry will be front and center in supporting her at the state pageant.
Both girls admit that time management is most important in their daily life. “You ought to see my calendar,” Duffy laughed.
The two beauty queens have so much in common. Both contestants are Camden Central High School Class of 2016 graduates, attend University of Tennessee Martin, go to same local church, Holladay United Methodist Church, have grown up together and as Arnold said, “Getting to experience something like this with someone you grew up with is such a neat thing.”
The pageant week will be tightly scheduled. Personal interviews will begin on Tuesday and on Wednesday and on into Thursday, the evening gowns will hit the runway. Thursday and Friday is reserved for the talent portion of the competition and Saturday will be lifestyle and fitness swimsuit, as well as Top 15 named. Contestants have different schedules through the week.
Arnold and Duffy will compete with 34 other beauties in the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant that under Miss Tennessee has awarded more than $1,000,000 in scholarships. This summer alone they are paying out more than $100,000.
The Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant will be aired “live” on EPlusTV channel 6, 206HD or online at www.eplustv6.com.
The new name for the pageant, Miss Tennessee Pageant, came after organizers chose to part ways earlier this year with the Miss Tennessee Pageant that will take place in Knoxville this summer and that winner will go on to compete in the Miss America Pageant.