By Julia Eckardt
Baton Rouge, La., senior Ginger Douglas won the second annual Miss Green and Gold pageant on Saturday.
Along with the title, she won a $1,500 scholarship and the opportunity to compete in the upcoming Miss Texas pageant.
How long have you been doing pageants?
I actually just started the summer before my junior year in high school, so in the pageant world that’s not that long at all when you think about girls who have been competing all their lives.
What made you want to get started?
My mom actually forced me. I told her I did not want to be a pageant girl. One of my advisors in high school gave me this pamphlet and my mom really wanted me to do it. I was like “no, please don’t” and she signed me up anyway so I was like, “Well, I guess I’m just going to have to go with it,” and ended up winning, and ever since then I’ve loved it.
What made you want to enter into the Miss Green and Gold Pageant?
My mom, again. She’s a “momager” for sure. I had been competing in Louisiana and this had been my last year to try for Miss Green and Gold and to compete for Miss Texas so she wanted me to try it out. Also, with scholarship money that’s always a plus so I did it and I’m here now.
How did you prepare for this event?
Oh man, lots of practice. We would have Thursday night practice for two hours going over different parts of the competition, and then I would meet with people to help me with my interview and go over my personal introduction and I would rent out studio time to go over my dance and different things like that.
What is your platform and why?
My platform is teen pregnancy prevention. I had a friend in high school get pregnant when we were juniors, and just to see her have to put her entire life on hold and to not be able to do the things we did, like go to football games, was heartbreaking to me.
I did more research and realized that it was a much bigger problem than what we actually see in the real world and in the media. At that same time we had all these TV shows coming out like Teen Mom so it drew my eye to it.
How do you advocate for this cause?
Obviously I can’t talk to kids about teen pregnancy so I talk to them about goal setting. If you have a goal that you really want to reach you don’t want to deviate from that path so set a goal and you’ll get there.
What is your talent?
My talent is tap. For the past three years I did a jazz dance and this year I decided to change to tap.
What is your favorite part of competing in pageants?
My favorite part – this sounds so cliché – but it really is meeting all the girls. I can’t tell you how many really good friends I’ve made competing in pageants. You do all kinds of events together, and when you get to state you always have that friend that you know for sure and then you meet all the other girls.
Pageantry is a life that it’s hard to understand from the outside looking in. With all the busyness, a lot of people don’t understand it but you always know your pageant sisters totally know what your going through, especially when it comes close to competition.
What is something you learned from competing?
I have learned a lot about communication and talking in public because once you have the title you can’t be dormant with it. You have to go out, tell people about your platform.
How do you feel about the opportunity to compete for Miss Texas?
I’m so excited. After they called my name I didn’t really realize it. It was like, “Oh, fun I won,” and then when they were crowing me, because I was squatting for a really long time, it was like, “wait I’m going to Miss Texas I cannot believe this.” I’m still in shock from it.
Did you think that’s somewhere you would ever end up?
No, not at all. I never thought I would leave Louisiana but I’m really, really excited about this opportunity and can’t wait to see what doors it will open.
A lot of people say pageants are anti-feminist. How do you respond?
I honestly think it’s like the complete opposite. I feel like it’s empowering. We can be girly if we really want to be. I love football and I love sports and I also love being in an evening gown on stage and being able to strut around showing my femininity.
What is the most challenging part of competing?
The most challenging part is, when it comes to things like interviews and onstage questions, you have no control over what the judges are going to ask you, so you can’t really stress about that. You have to take what they throw at you and it’s not what you say, it’s how you handle it and how you answer it.
Do you have any message that you want young women to hear?
Definitely step outside your comfort zone, because like I said, I did not want to compete in pageants. My mom forced me to do this and I’m glad she did.