The 2018 Miss Louisiana pageant is primed to begin this week, with preliminary competition starting tomorrow. Representing Webster Parish, Miss Minden Hannah Harper arrived in Monroe Sunday along with the 32 other contestants to begin preparations.
“I am super excited,” Harper said. “I cannot wait to get to know the other contestants, make new contacts, and establish new friendships with the amazing young women here representing all areas of our state.”
Harper and the other contestants will be participating in appearances, service projects, and practice sessions for almost 11 hours a day until preliminaries begin. Harper said she is keeping in mind one of her top goals: to reflect positively on Webster Parish.
“The quality of the Miss Minden experience has been phenomenal as I’ve grown as a person and learned much about the wonderful citizens, businesses, and community of Minden,” she said. “It is an honor to represent all of Webster Parish while here, and I plan to do that to the best of my ability because such an exceptional parish deserves an outstanding ambassador.”
Competition begins Wednesday, when the 33 contestants will be divided into two groups. Harper’s group will begin with interviews, followed by evening gown and lifestyle/fitness events Thursday and talent/on-stage questions Friday. Contestants will be judged in physical, social, intellectual, talent, and emotional aspects.
“Hopefully I’ll come through strong and represent the parish well in all those categories, especially the intelligence segment,” Harper said.
Thursday and Friday night competitions begin at 7:30 p.m., and at the end of each evening the winners of the preliminary events will be announced. Then the big event begins.
Saturday night’s competition, beginning at 8 p.m., will be televised live on KPXJ Channel 21.
All contestants will participate in an opening number Saturday night, and then the top 10 finalists will be announced based on preliminary results. The finalists will compete in all categories once more before the crowd and viewers at home.
Harper said in addition to her goal of representing her home parish well, her biggest desire for her time at the pageant is to further her platforms.
“I hope to encourage young ladies to pursue high quality education and professions in STEM fields and promote travel in order to break cultural barriers and see people as individuals rather than stigmas,” she said. “ It has been said that travel is the greatest enemy of prejudice, and I strongly believe that to be true.”
The Miss America organization announced earlier this month that the swimsuit portion of competition will no longer be performed at the national level in an effort to adapt to a changing culture. This Miss Louisiana pageant will be the last to include it as well.
“It is a historic Miss Louisiana in which to be a part,” Harper said. “The state winners will proceed to compete for Miss America in the fall with a new set of rules and new categories in which to compete, so our state level winners must be flexible in order to be competitive. It should be exciting to see how the changes contribute to the perception of the Miss America Organization.”
With competition looming, Harper was sure to stop and include thanks to all of her supporters.
“I’d like to thank the many Minden businesses who aided me in my duties as Miss Minden so far this year,” she said. “Belle of the Bal’ has been a fabulous supporter and provided my evening gowns, interview dress, and hosted my trunk show. Grace Estate provided the food and venue for our Princess Party to raise money for sick and injured children at Children’s Miracle Network of Hospitals. Geaux Fresh hosted a Miss Minden day where they donated a portion of sales to CMN. Several local businesses bought ads for the Miss LA program, donated samples of their products or gift certificates to their businesses, and SweetTee Shreveport provided a Miss Minden shirt with which to raise money for CMN. Thank you all for your support – you are appreciated more than you know.”