Behind the lipstick, formal dresses and high heels are 21 unique, professional young women who are all competing for one thing — the title of Washington Town and Country Fair Queen.
The youngest of those contestants, Autumn Buesking, has been sharing her photography skills with The Missourian since November through an internship.
As for me, I’ve never personally competed in anything like this, but I have been listening to Autumn’s stories and experiences throughout the past couple of months.
So who am I? My name is Brynn Mechem and I’m a summer intern with The Missourian. I attend Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.
Since May, I have been working closely with Autumn and have gotten the pleasure to hear about her incredible experiences. After sharing with me for so long, she decided it was time to share her royal experiences with you.
While it may be my fingers typing, this is Autumn’s story and this is her voice:
My journey began with the ambition to become a role model for kids — the queen contest gave me that platform.
The application process is a long one. I first applied in January and waited anxiously until I learned that I had been accepted in May.
Since then, it has been a whirlwind of events to not only prepare us for the contest, but for a successful life afterward.
The first task? Finding the perfect sponsor.
With 21 amazing girls competing for a spot with one of the 21 sponsors, it can be hard to find the right fit.
Everyone I contacted had already chosen a candidate and I began to feel very defeated. However, after many emails, phone calls and interviews I finally found the quintessential fit with Hodges Badge.
After each candidate found our company advocates, we were off to the races.
As soon as we finished orientation we had head shots taken, learned yoga and got to be a part of an American Legion Post 218 baseball game.
But it isn’t all fun and games. Each event taught us valuable life skills and shaped us into professional young women.
One of the hardest parts of the contest is that people just assume it’s solely based on beauty — I hate to break it to you, it isn’t.
We went through two days of professional development where we participated in mock interviews, learned how to professionally dress and how to present ourselves on social media.
In addition, we must submit a professional resume, a biography of our accomplishments and complete a three-on-one interview with the judges.
Yeah, we did have a make-up night and learned how to walk on stage, but the bigger lesson was how to carry ourselves professionally and how to present ourselves as royalty.
It’s been fun and I love all the girls. I’m confident to say that no matter who wins, it will be because of her personality and character, not the way she decided to style her hair.
The winner will be chosen not by the beauty of her face, but by the beauty of her dreams.
Each of the girls is unique in her own way. We have girls who aspire to be teachers, nurses, beauticians and scientists.
As for me, I want to be a physicist. I plan to attend Missouri University of Science and Technology in the fall.
I want to inspire young girls and show them that they can go into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career field and that it’s not just for boys.
I want to show boys that they can be a dancer or a nurse or whatever else their heart desires.
Anybody can be anything they want to be, so long as they’re happy.
Like all the other contestants, I would love to win. But, no matter who wins, I know each one of these girls will be an exemplary role model, not just a pretty face.
By Brynn Mechem and Autumn Buesking, Missourian Interns.