Michelle Page, senior in geology, and Carolyn Fitzgibbons, senior in theater, will be headed to Pratt, Kansas this June to compete in the Miss Kansas Pageant. Both will not only be representing the state of Kansas, but also K-State.
Page will be competing for the title of Miss Kansas as the 2015 Miss Midwest title holder. Page won the title back in March and has been getting ready for the journey to Miss Kansas ever since.
Page has been competing in pageants since she was 16 years old and this year marks her seventh year in pageantry. She has held a many different titles ranging from Miss Teen Ruby Slippers 2011 to Miss North Central 2012 to Miss Golden Belt 2014.
Page changed her talent to tap dancing just three years ago. It’s something she only started in the spring of 2012 but has developed a passion for.
“She has grown so much more confident as a dancer, now that she has found tap,” Jordan Roberts, 2013 K-State alumna, said. “She is so passionate about dance and it just grows the more she does it.”
Roberts said that although Page was already confident on stage, gaining confidence in tap has improved her stage presence.
“Tap has only improved that performance aspect of her and made her more confident in her talent,” Roberts said. “If you’re confident, then your passion is going to show.”
Along the way Page lost hope as she was continuously crowned first runner-up at many local pageants before she won her titles. Page then took a year off competing during the 2012-2013 season.
“I took that year off to focus on me,” Page said. “Because I took that year off I got to take summer classes. I was meant to stop competing that year to really find myself. In finding myself I found Marcus, and he motivated me to compete again.”
With Marcus Woodside-Heit, 2013 K-State alumna, by her side as her biggest supporter, Page is excited for another chance to represent her state and K-State.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to put my best foot forward and show off my state in the best light possible,” Page said. “Its a great way to push yourself to greatness.
Miss Royal Purple
Fitzgibbons will be competing this June as Miss Royal Purple. Fitzgibbons received her title after her and her partner Nathan Lauden, senior in food science and industry, won K-State Dancing with the Stars.
According to the Miss Kansas Organization, there are local competitions and festivals in which young women can compete and win in order to go on to Miss Kansas in June. These competitions are not officially part of the Miss Kansas pageant system, but they are “officially sanctioned competitions”.
“Either someone from (Union Program Council) or someone who previously had done Dancing with the K-State Stars approached the Miss Kansas organization,” Fitzgibbons said. “They asked if that competition specifically would allow them to qualify for Miss Kansas and the organization said yes.”
UPC is now the official sponsor of Fitzgibbions on her journey to the 2015 Miss Kansas Pageant. Together they worked to come up with a title that was both accepted by the Miss Kansas Organization as well as K-State.
“After going through K-State Licensing and Trademarks, we came to the conclusion that Miss Royal Purple would be an appropriate title,” Fitzgibbons said. “It fits because it ties me back to the university since it was a university competition that got me here.”
Unlike Page, this summer will be Fitzgibbon’s first time competing in a pageant. Over the last few months Fitzgibbons has been readying herself both mentally and physically for the road ahead. The road has not been without its bumps, however.
“The first challenge I’ve had has been the time restraint to learn everything,” Fitzgibbons said. “I had to learn all my responsibilities as a title holder, plus things that I need to do for the competition, such as publicize and fundraise for the national platform which was the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and share about Miss Outstanding Teen pageant as well as the Miss Sunflower Princesses program.”
Fitzgibbons also had to come up with a personal platform. The personal platform gives the competing ladies a chance to advocate and share their views on critical issues.
“I had to figure out quickly what my platform is,” Fitzgibbons said. “I chose cancer research as my focus. My official platform title is ‘Beating The Odds and Finding A Cure.'”
On top of all the paperwork, finding a platform and learning what it takes to be in a pageant, Fitzgibbons had to do, she said she had to find out who she was while representing both the state of Kansas and K-State.
“I had to find out how to express myself in a professional manner and not just as a performer,” Fitzgibbons said. “Just figuring out who I am as an individual and what my beliefs are was probably the most difficult thing.”
While most of the pageant preparation has been new for Fitzgibbons, there is one part about competing in Miss Kansas that she is looking forward to.
“The great thing about the competition is the scholarship program that Miss Kansas is, is mainly based on your talent, it’s 40 percent of your score,” Fitzgibbons said. “Knowing I won a dance competition, that I am a dancer, that one of my majors is dance as a concentration, really puts me at ease.”
Fitzgibbons is even trying to tie some of the other aspects of the pageant into her talent.
“I am finding ways to incorporate my platform of cancer research and my personal experiences in to my talent,” Fitzgibbons said. “In my dance I am sharing my experiences and telling my story to other people, and that’s helping me as a performer to find ways to express myself.”
Fitzgibbons has been dancing for about 18 years and Jordan Roberts, friend and former tap ensemble member, said she believes Fitzgibbons has grown in her time preparing for the pageant.
“Carolyn has been dancing for a long time and she is extremely talented,” Roberts said. “But i think something she found is self-realization through this, like how to challenge herself and improve.”
Roberts said being self-critical is important in dance but will also help her in the few short weeks leading up to June first.
“Knowing her strengths and what she needs to work on will help her find a solution to competing in this competition that is so new to her,” Roberts said. “She will be able to adjust quickly and let herself show.”
Page has been mentoring Fitzgibbons throughout the paperwork process and is excited to share her love of pageantry. Page said the competition isn’t just about bettering yourself, but about pushing your friends to do their best too.
“The Miss Kansas Class is a true sisterhood, more so than sorority life,” Page said. “Knowing that we all want to win but still offering to help out and get together to better each others chances is a huge part of why I chose the Miss Kansas Organization.”
Page said she is excited to finally have a sister competing in the pageant that she knows from outside of the system. She can’t wait to see Fitzgibbons do her best in June and will be cheering her on.
“Family: That’s what we are and no title is going to come between us as family,” Page said.