An Okatie 6-year-old went to Disney World and came home crowned a real-life princess.
Emory Cooler won the title of 2018 USA National Junior Princess at the USA National Miss pageant in Orlando on Saturday, July 7.
The Okatie Elementary student admitted being a little nervous just before pageant officials announced the winner, but said she enjoyed the competition.
“I had fun with my friends, and I did well in my pageant,” she said.
Emory is the daughter of Lindsey and Yates Cooler of Okatie and has an 8-year-old brother, Russell. All three, plus other family members, were in the audience for the final night of the pageant.
When the field was whittled to just three girls remaining on stage, what was Lindsey Cooler thinking?
“I was in shock. I knew she had worked hard and practiced and had done a great deal of work,” Lindsey said. “We were all excited and are still excited for her.”
To get to the national competition against the 29 other girls in her division, all between ages 4 and 6, Emory first had to win the South Carolina pageant in October.
The pageant has six divisions with competitors ranging in age from 4 to 25.
Competition is in three main areas: Interview, runway and evening gown. Runway is like a fashion show where girls can show their personality, Lindsey Cooler explained.
Other awards are given for photography and modeling as well as community service and schoolwork.
Emory received a bronze award for her community service, and had the highest interview score in her division, her mother said.
Before the pageant, the family found out about Emory’s accomplishment in her interviews.
“She had been awarded the highest interview score, so I told my husband we can just go home now,” Lindsey Cooler said. “I was just proud of her.”
As the reigning National Junior Princess, Emory will continue to do community service and will help promote the organization’s Crown C.A.R.E.S. anti-bullying program in schools.
As one of her community service projects, Emory set up a lemonade stand and raised $500 and collected supplies for Jasper Animal Rescue Mission, her mother said.
Lots of traveling is in the family’s future and Lindsey said Emory is looking forward to her first airplane trip.
Over the next year, Emory will go to New York Fashion Week, visit Hollywood to work with a celebrity photographer and take a cruise to the Bahamas, her mother said. She’ll also be visiting pageants in other states.