Hall wins Miss UNA pageant
When Russellville resident Anne-Marie Hall heard her name announced as the new Miss UNA 2012 on Saturday, she said she really couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
“I was excited but I was really just numb because I was in shock that what I had dreamed of was actually happening,” she said. “It was like having an out-of-body experience hearing that all that hard work had really paid off.”
Hall said in reality, she has been training for this pageant since high school because being Miss UNA isn’t just a title – it’s a full-time job.
“In high school you start training for the time when you will have a job and for all the interviews and processes you’ll go through to get that job,” she said. “What I’ve been preparing for is a full year of representing and promoting UNA and the Shoals area and I’ve very excited to have that responsibility and the privilege to be able to do that.”
Hall said her literal preparation for the Miss UNA pageant has been a three-year process of staying in shape, working on her talent and honing her interview skills.
“I was actually in the Miss UNA pageant last year and I did a good job, but God just closed that door for me then,” she said. “Everything just fell into place this year and I will do my very best to be a good representative of my school and the Shoals area.”
Facing defeat on her first attempt at the pageant might have caused other girls to walk away from the pageant experience, but Hall said becoming Miss UNA wasn’t just a title she wanted to say she had – it was a way to continue her education.
“I first decided to compete in the Miss UNA pageant because my full scholarship I received to UNA when I graduated from high school runs out this semester and being Miss UNA would give me a way to finish my college degree without having to pay student loans,” she said. “I know how expensive college can be with tuition costs that just keep rising. I have friends that work two jobs to try to pay their way through school, so the scholarship aspect of the pageant was what made me decide to be a part of it.”
Hall said she first got her start in pageants when she was a sophomore in high school and it was something nobody really expected her to do.
“You can ask anyone that you knew me then and they’ll tell you that I was such a tomboy, and I still kind of am to an extent,” she said. “I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and I loved the outdoors so I never even considered doing pageants, but I was told to participate in the Miss Russellville High School pageant because it would give me good experience with interviewing and I could perform in the talent portion, which is something I love to do.”
After considering the benefits, Hall said she decided to participate in Miss RHS and is very glad now that she made that decision.
“The way Mrs. [Susie] Malone runs the Miss RHS pageant is very similar to the Miss Alabama and Miss America pageants so it really gave me invaluable experience and prepared me for Miss UNA,” she said. “I’m thankful that Mrs. Malone does such a good job with the pageant and makes it an experience that can really promote confidence for future pageants or just life in general.”
Over the next year, Hall, who is a senior majoring in music education with an emphasis on vocal/choral, will also be promoting her platform – Americans for the Arts.
“The arts have affected my life so much and really had a role in me starting pageants in the first place,” she said. “I can’t even fully describe how important the arts have been in my life and I know that is the case for so many other people and students.
“When the decision is made to cut funding for the arts, it’s like telling all those children who depend on that outlet that they’re not worth it, so I will always be fighting for the future of those kids.”
Hall will be making many appearances in the coming months but she will also be training for the Miss Alabama pageant that will take place June 6 – 9.
“I plan on working hard to bring home the title of Miss Alabama for my school and for all the people who have supported me, especially my hometown,” she said. “It is so nice to know that the Russellville and Franklin County community will support you wherever you go. I had so many people this past weekend and week tell me how proud they are of me and it just really makes me want to do my best for them.”
Hall said she has also received tons of support from her immediate family and extended family including her parents, Terry and Susan Hall, her older brother, Jonathan Hall, her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
“My mom is just my best friends and she has been such a strong source of support. She keeps me organized and I don’t know what I would do without her.
“Like I said, I’m a daddy’s girl and my dad is just my stress reliever. He keeps me calm and I always know that he’ll be there supporting me just like my brother, Jonathan, will be. Jonathan has been so supportive of me and I just appreciate my whole family so much.”
Hall said she is also relieved knowing she will be supported over the next year by the Miss UNA pageant scholarship board, who will help her in many different capacities.
“These people on the board don’t always get recognized for their hard work, but as soon as I was crowned they were there making sure they were doing everything they could for me,” she said. “It’s just an overwhelming feeling to know you have so much support.”
In addition to her new duties as Miss UNA, Hall maintains a full course load while working in the President’s Office on the UNA campus. She is a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha; a member of the National Association for Music Education – Choral Division, the music student advisory committee, the UNA Chamber Choir, UNA Jazz Ensemble, Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma; and she is president of the UNA Collegiate Singers.
“This will be a busy year but I am so excited and so ready to be the best representative I can be and I’m looking forward to all of the new experiences I will have.”