BOONVILLE — A local woman recently was crowned National Mrs. North Carolina and will be competing next month in the National Mrs. pageant in Williamsburg, Virginia. Paige Carter, who lives in Boonville with her husband and young daughter, first took the pageant plunge last year when she competed in a statewide pageant as Mrs. Yadkin County.
Carter said her pageant dreams began when a friend competed in the Miss North Carolina pageant. She said she also began participating in pageants to be an inspiration for her daughter.
“I’m doing it mainly to be a role model for Kaylee because I want her to grow up and know that she can do anything she sets her mind to,” Carter said in an interview last year.
Carter, who now works for Daggett Shuler law firm in Winston-Salem, competed as Mrs. Forsyth County in the preliminary National Mrs. Pageant last year. Her platform, which she calls CROWN: VIP – Very Important Person, is in connection with Daggett Shuler’s Safe Sober Prom Night program.
“I not only help with the Safe Sober Prom Night foundation particularly around prom night, I also speak and spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol with teens every day,” Carter said.
Carter has a very personal connection to her platform as well.
“I had a very close friend die in 2006 at the young age of 15 in a drug/alcohol-related car accident and it really devastated me and my whole family,” Carter explained. “It impacted our community and schools heavily. I believe every single one of us is important and placed on this earth by God for a reason. Sometimes we may not understand things that happen in our lives, but I know I am here now to promote these dangers and help anyone I possibly can with sharing my story and passion regarding this matter.”
Though prom season has come and gone, Carter said she thinks it is important to continue reminding teens of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
“This is very important to me not just around prom season but every day,” she said. “It’s not just about taking the pledge during prom season to be drug and alcohol free that night, but to try and go forward the rest of your life as a teenager to make smart and safe decisions.”
Participating in the pageants has been a great experience, Carter said.
“This has been the most fun, rewarding experience for me in awhile,” she said. “To me it is nothing to do with the title, sash or crown, that is just icing on the cake, but it is more of helping other people and reaching out to the community to make this world a much better place one step at a time.”
The pageant experience has given Carter more self-confidence and even important skills like public speaking.
“I believe it has been just a rewarding experience for me,” she said. “It has helped me to do things I never thought I would. I am more open to speaking in public, I feel better about myself as a person, mom, friend, etc. I just feel like I am trying to make a change and a difference even if it helps just one person that would be great, but I don’t want to stop there, I am determined and will continue on after my rein to do this work.”
Pageant preparation is no easy task though. Carter has been on a strict workout plan to get ready for the swimsuit competition and she meets regularly with a coach who helps her with her walk, hair and make up. She said is getting geared up for the national competition.
“My thoughts heading toward Nationals are really to just focus on being myself and sharing my desire and passion for my CROWN: VIP platform. I have planned events before the National Pageant that I will be making an appearance to help get the word out about CROWN: VIP and what I want to do next year if I win Nationals. It would be just an honor and a blessing if I won the National Mrs. Title. I have so many plans during my reign and am excited about getting the word out to everyone,” she said.
Winning the crown is, of course, the ultimate goal of pageant, but to Carter it is much more than that.
“I do it to make a difference,” she said. “To win the crown would be amazing, but to really win it and have the opportunity to be able to speak to people I may not have every gotten the chance to as just myself would be absolutely wonderful. It opens more doors and just helps me to reach more people about CROWN: VIP.”
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.