By Rayne Brown
Mesquite junior Deondria Murphy is Baylor’s first ever Miss Green and Gold.
“I feel on top of the world right now,” Murphy said. “It’s a blessing. It means a lot. It shows that people love me. That if I set my mind to it, I can do it.”
First runner up was Odessa junior Mattison Torres, while Beaumont junior Ambreea Warren took second runner up.
Winners in other categories included Sugarland senior Rachael Wilson as miss congeniality, Murphy as socialite and Warren as crowd favorite.
After much preparation, stress and nerves, the 21 contestants competed in the first annual pageant on Friday. Each girl supported a different platform ranging from breast cancer awareness and sickle cell anemia to building self-esteem in women.
The contestants competed in three different segments including talent, evening wear and an interview question in the hopes of making history and becoming the first ever Miss Green and Gold.
Once introductions were done, the talent segment began. The ladies had a variety of different talents including singing, acting and African dance. Murphy’s winning talent was a step dance in which she included two young girls in the routine. Talent was followed by evening wear when the contestants were judged on their poise. The pageant concluded with the question and answer portion.
“It’s an honor,” Houston senior Silvia Nweze said. “I love Baylor. It’s my dream school. It’s an honor honestly that I at least can run to be Miss Green and Gold.”
After three hours of lyrical dance, violin playing, the presentation of evening gowns and an interview portion, the pageant went to intermission. Thirty minutes later, judges crowned Murphy as 2013 Miss Green and Gold.
The Green and Gold Pageant is an official Miss America affiliate and the winner gets the chance to compete in Miss Texas.
Preparation for Friday’s pageant was time-consuming. After committing to the pageant, the 21 contestants met every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m., with optional practice times on Sundays. They also volunteered at the Family Abuse Center, the selected philanthropy for the pageant.
“It was a really good experience,” Henderson junior Valerie Vaughn said. “We got to help clean up the children’s room. So we had a lot of fun together reminiscing about childhood and just helping them out as much as we could.”
To people outside of the pageant world, philanthropy is a little known fact. However,Houston junior and pageant coordinator Amira Lewally sees it as an important part of pageantry.
“Philanthropy is such a big part of pageantry,” Lewally said. “I think it’s mandatory for every pageant. We partnered with the Family Abuse Center of Waco. It was a passion of many of our contestants. It puts the realness in pageants. Many people have a certain view of it; philanthropy’s one of the biggest parts of it, so it was really important.”
Lewally said the pageant committee has been preparing specifically for Miss Green and Gold since July but have been trying to get a chartered pageant on Baylor’s campus since her freshmen year.
“I’ve directed pageants for the last six or seven years,” Lewally said. “When I came to Baylor I realized we didn’t have a university wide pageant that covered all of campus and different varieties of what campus really was. So, I found people who also had the same interest and we just started from there.”