Miss Durham crowned 2011 Miss North Carolina

Posted June 25, 2011
Updated June 24, 2012

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— A Meredith College student and Miss Durham was crowned as the new Miss North Carolina Saturday night, marking the fourth straight year a woman representing the Triangle has won the competition.

Hailey Best, 20, beat out 33 other contestants to be crowned at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.

"It's just been a wonderful experience so far. I really don't even believe it yet. I think I'm still dreaming," she said on the WRAL Sunday Morning News.

The Triangle was also represented by Miss Garner Virginia Zelle Brown, who placed second. Miss Fayetteville Katie Mills placed fourth and won the preliminary swimsuit competition.

Miss Gastonia Maddison Sheppard placed third, and Miss Coastal Carolina Mary Catherine Tucker was the fifth-placed finalist.

Best sang opera to win the talent competition on Wednesday. She's a vocal performance major at Meredith College in Raleigh.

Best said she's worked with children's home since she was a child and wants to promote the Live On Foundation, which works with children from group and foster homes and homeless shelters.

"We give them the opportunity to participate in extracurriculars outside of their living arrangement, and that can be academic, artistic or athletic events," she said. "We give them the opportunities they might not otherwise have."

She will represent North Carolina in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January.

Miss North Carolina 2011 Hailey Best New Miss NC talks about the honor

Best is from Goldsboro, but the Miss Durham pageant is open to women across North Carolina. The Miss Raleigh and Miss Tar Heel pageants are also statewide competitions.

"I'm excited to represent Durham as the next Miss North Carolina," Best said. "Durham has so many opportunities, athletic events at the Durham Bulls stadium, and the Durham Performing Arts Center is growing by leaps and bounds. There are so many great events going on all the time."

Best said she's been impressed with Durham when she's been involved in events there. She has sung at the Carolina Theatre and a Dress for Success event at Northgate Mall.

Pageant queens representing the Triangle have dominated the Miss North Carolina Competition in recent years.

Adrienne Core, who won last year, and Katherine Southard, who won in 2009, both entered the competition as Miss Raleigh. The 2008 state queen, Amanda Lauren Watson, was first Miss Garner.


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  • princeje Jun 29, 2011

    @Commie Guy: Actually, I go to Meredith with her and I'm friends with her on Facebook and there's not a single picture on there that would cause her to lose her crown. Hailey is an amazing woman and I'm proud that I get to call her my classmate.

  • mustainemad Jun 27, 2011

    personally, I think someone should have to live for a few years in the area they "represent"--but pagents are a serious joke anyway, can you say grown-up "toddlers & tiaras"!

  • Pseudonym Jun 27, 2011

    Quote from willemakeit: "And why isn't there a Mr. NC?"

    There is no Mr. NC because women are better looking than men. Fact of life.

  • lillypeace Jun 27, 2011

    Finally you report something nice nice

  • more cowbell Jun 27, 2011

    Is this an actual, true and correct representation of the City of Durham. And why isn't there a Mr. NC?

  • Tax Man Jun 27, 2011

    Durham can use this boost - think this is the first "good" news out of Durham in several weeks. Congratulations!

  • jtrehy Jun 27, 2011

    NOT even from the Triangle, much less from Durham. So why should Durham care?

  • PhotoJ Jun 27, 2011

    She was also a great Cinderella in Raleigh Little Theatre's annual production in 2010 - congratulations!

  • ajmac09 Jun 27, 2011

    Congratulations! That's very exciting. Very proud of Miss Durham and Miss Garner for representing our area well :)