There she is, a future Miss America?
On Jan. 26, one young lady will be crowned Miss Hilton Head Island and another Miss Hilton Head Island Teen at the Hilton Head Island High School Visual and Performing Arts Center. This is the second year the competition has come to the island.
As of press time, pageant executive director Jeremy Culpepper said about seven girls had signed up to participate in each competition. Contestants come from across the state -- some from Charleston, some from Greenville and several from the Hilton Head area.
Among those vying for the crown is Caroline Santorum. The 20-year-old University of South Carolina student was born and raised on Hilton Head. This is her first pageant.
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"When I saw the pageant being advertised, I thought it sounded like a good experience," Santorum said. "I'm definitely excited."
Teen contestants must be between ages 13 and 17 but cannot be above a junior in high school. Miss contestants must be between ages 17 and 24 and have to be at least a senior in high school.
All contestants will compete in five phases of competition, including a private interview, talent and evening gown. Miss contestants also will compete in the swimsuit portion, and teens will participate in a fitness competition. Each contestant will get a chance to discuss her platform.
The newly crowned Miss Hilton Head Island will be awarded a $1,000 college scholarship courtesy of Going Law Firm, as well as in-kind prizes and scholarships. The teen winner will receive $250, and her entry fee to the state teen pageant will be paid for by the Miss Hilton Head Island Scholarship Organization. Other scholarship money will be given to preliminary competition winners.
The Miss Hilton Head Island and Miss Hilton Head Island Teen Competition is the local preliminary competition of the Miss South Carolina and Miss America pageants.
"We believe the pageant is important because it truly empowers women to work toward their goals and make things happen," Miss Hilton Head Island Scholarship Pageant chairman of the board Harry Culpepper Jr. said. "Women become empowered to be strong leaders, volunteers, artists and ambassadors for their causes."