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Ask Anything: 10 questions with Miss N.C. Amanda Watson

Miss North Carolina 2008 Amanda Watson answers your questions about being a pageant girl, her favorite ab workout and much more.

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Miss North Carolina 2008 Amanda Watson
Besides bragging rights, what does being Miss North Carolina give you in life? – Odellia, Hurdle Mills

Well, I must admit that my friends and family have had more fun with the “bragging rights” than I have! I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to follow and achieve my dream. Becoming Miss North Carolina has been a dream of mine since I watched Heather Whitestone be crowned Miss America 1995. She was the first Miss America to be crowned with a disability, yet she never gave up on her dream. Even at the young age of eight, I knew that all things were possible through hard work and dedication. This holds true in all aspects of life, not just in pageantry!

Has being Miss North Carolina and a senior at UNC been stressful for you? – Faye McDaniel, Henderson

This is a great question, Faye, because many people do not know that being Miss North Carolina is a full-time job. When I was crowned in June I was required to take the year off of school in order to fulfill my obligations and maintain a very hectic schedule. Each day offers new appearances and opportunities, and many days I have multiple appearances at various locations throughout the state. I am very grateful to be able to enjoy, to its fullest, each day as Miss North Carolina, but also look forward to experiencing a senior year at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Amanda, what do you feel is the biggest misconception the average citizen has about you as Miss North Carolina? – Charlie Franks, Raleigh

This is one thing that I have worked very diligently to overcome this year. I have made a conscious effort to make sure that each and every person that I meet knows that I am just an average person who has been given a great gift, the gift of service to the state that I have called home for 22 years. I think, many times, people feel that “Miss North Carolina” cannot relate to the “average” person, but that is exactly what this job entails. I hope that, in a small way, I have helped each resident here in North Carolina to know that this state’s greatest resources are the people!

Do you think that girls who enter the Miss North Carolina pageant should have strict conduct standards imposed on them? – Janet Idol, Eastover

Janet, I always encourage young ladies interested in pursuing the Miss North Carolina title to set higher standards for themselves. I think that the state committee would agree with me in saying that, for the most part, the Miss North Carolina pageant has been blessed with contestants that carry themselves with dignity and respect.

There are, however, strict guidelines and restrictions under which titleholders are to conduct themselves. It has always been my motto that you should not do anything without your crown on that you would not do with your crown on!

There is not a day that goes by that I do not count my blessings for the true honor it is to serve the great state of North Carolina, but with any honor comes great responsibility. I encounter young people all across the state that view me as a role model, therefore, my actions must line up accordingly.

I'd love to enter my granddaughter into some beauty pageants, but they are sooo expensive and cut throat. Do you have any advice as to the pros and cons of entering beauty pageants? Thank you. – Suzanne Montiel, Rocky Mount

Unfortunately, Suzanne, pageants are given a very negative stereotype at times. Sometimes this stereotype is hard to overcome. I was never exposed to pageants until I was 17 years old. It was at this time that I began searching for scholarships and received information in the mail about a particular teenage pageant.

I decided to give it my best shot. I did not have the most expensive wardrobe or the most “rehearsed interview answers,” but what I did have was the advice to “be myself." This was some of the best advice I could have ever been given. I ended up winning first runner- up and went on to win the national pageant! I think it was refreshing for the judges to see girls who are confident in themselves, not in the expensive wardrobe that accompanies them.

I can truthfully say that my experiences in pageants, especially my journey to Miss North Carolina, have taught me an endless amount of valuable knowledge about myself, my community and about the world around me. I am forever indebted to the wonderful people who have helped me along my journey.

Amanda, Miss N.C. used to have reps from all 100 counties. What can be done to increase the number of contestants competing for Miss N.C. ? Will Miss N.C. ever get back on TV? – Errol Oxendine, Pembroke

Errol, I think one of the major reasons for the decline in contestant numbers can be attributed to the array of activities that young people can become involved with today. Young ladies feel pressured to perform well at school, while also being involved with sports, clubs and organizations that enable to them to qualify as a top candidate for colleges and universities. There has also been an increased emphasis placed on high school students to perform community service upon graduation.

This being said, I think that it is important for us to help young women to understand that the Miss North Carolina Organization embodies all of these ideals – being academically driven, well-rounded and talented. Since Miss North Carolina must have a given “platform” of community service, young ladies can take the fundamentals used in their school service projects to further this requirement.

I would also love to see more colleges and universities hold pageants of their own. The Miss UNC-Pembroke pageant is a wonderful example of this idea. More pageants of this nature would provide college women from across the state with the chance to gain more monetary assistance for their education.

As for a televised pageant, I am honestly not sure about this. What I do know, however, is that without incurring the cost of a TV production, the pageant organization is able to provide Miss North Carolina with a larger monetary scholarship award. I have confidence that the executive board and committee will continue to do their best for the contestants and the overall well-being of the pageant.

Who has had the most influence in your life? How? Thank you. – David Morris, Raleigh

I have been very blessed to have the love and support from a wonderful network of family and friends. My mom, however, has been the driving force behind all that I have been able to do this year. She holds great influence in my life, decisions, and future aspirations. From a young age, she has always instilled in me the confidence that I needed to believe in myself, while also teaching me the great value of humility through service to others. Acting as my chauffeur, secretary and friend, she has enabled me to make my dreams become reality. She is truly my “biggest fan!"

What is your best ab workout? – Eliseo Coria, Fayetteville

Where to begin? There are so many different ab exercises that I have accumulated through the years, but my favorites are those that target the outer obliques as well as the middle. The old-fashioned bicycle crunch is still one of my favorites, but my trainer, Tim Kelly, has much improved my technique on this exercise. It is important to remember to bring the elbow to the opposite knee in a controlled manner that targets your core.

Another one of my favorites is called the “teapot.” You take a weight of your choice, (I use 6-7 pounds) and hold it in one hand (that elbow is bent at a 90 degree angle with your forearm pointing upward and perpendicular to the ground). Your other hand (tight fist) rests on your hip. Bend your knees to form a 90 degree angle (squat) and tilt your body toward the arm holding the weight. This sounds very confusing through text, but if you look in the mirror, and are doing the exercise correctly, you will look like a teapot being poured!

Can we go on a date? – Brett Herndon, Rocky Mount

Sure ... only if my boyfriend can come!! Unfortunately, my year as Miss North Carolina does not leave much room for dates, but I am flattered that you asked!

Amanda, June 27 is coming up fast. What are your plans for after you relinquish your title? – Floyd Wilkins, Charlotte

Oh how time flies when you are having fun. I have never heard a more truthful saying! I am trying to cherish these last few months as Miss North Carolina because I soon will have the honor of passing my title on to another deserving young lady. I am blessed to always carry with me the title of “Miss North Carolina 2008!"

In the fall, I will be finishing up my education as a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill. I am pursuing a Masters in the Art of Teaching, with which I hope to use to enrich the lives of our young people as a teacher. I also plan to continue my work with the ALS Association, serving people with “Lou Gehrig’s” Disease. Serving as a national spokesperson for the patients and their families continues to enrich my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined.

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