Kaitlyn Carson: More than just a beauty queen


Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Carson

Over the past six years, Carson competed in several pageants. Not only did she receive multiple awards, but she also grew into a confident, poised, and heartwarming human being, making the world around her a better place.

Chancelor Gordon, Reporter

Kaitlyn Carson, NC junior, recently competed in the National American Pageant November 25th through the 28th in downtown Atlanta at the W Hotel. She placed 1st runner up for Junior Miss of America. Six years have passed since Carson competed in her first pageant, and 2020’s Junior Miss of America marks her last.

Seeking an activity that would benefit Carson, her mother entered her into her first pageant at the age of ten years old after seeing how much she loved dressing up as a little girl. Pageants presented a great fit and opportunity for Carson.

“My mom introduced me to pageantry because she wanted to boost my confidence, poise, and to allow me to compete for scholastic scholarships. I always loved dressing up as a little girl and she knew that I would love certain aspects of pageantry,” Carson said.

Junior Miss of America, Carson’s first national pageant, posed as a new experience for Carson. Previously only competing in state pageants, the national pageant brought intense competition and higher expectations that required increased effort and flexibility.

“Competing against young ladies from all over the United State made it more challenging because these young ladies were already winners of their state. You have to dress really nice for the parties, luncheons, and events. I was interviewed twice by a panel of six judges, had a facebook live pop question interview, and an on stage pop question, requiring you to be confident and think quickly on your feet. So many of your friends and family are watching which makes it hard to focus,” Carson said.

Naturally, the pageant also generated a new experience occurring during a pandemic. For the first time, Junior Miss of America conducted entry interviews and optional contests online. Contestants sent in videos of their contest submissions and attended zoom sessions for interviews. In person at the W Hotel, contestants wore masks or face shields at all times and maintained social distance.

Regardless of the pandemic, different aspects of the pageant remained the same. Pageants consist of a great deal of competitions: best GPA, most community service hours, talent contest, modeling, most photogenic, writing, poetry, and several others highlight different opportunities for contestants to earn a trophy. 

“My favorite thing about pageants are interviews because I love intermingling with new people and being able to display my talents and achievements that I’ve worked hard for throughout the years,” Carson said.

Pageants may seem all glitz and glam, but rarely does anything live up to its appearance. As with everything, pageants encompass ups and downs. Carson loves pageants, but admits her distaste for certain aspects.

“All your clothes have to be labeled including accessories in separate bags. You must also adhere to a tight schedule in which you must be on time with a smile on your face. You are being judged when you walk out of your hotel room. Everyone is watching you. You never know who the judges are,” Carson said.  

Leaving the pageant world with several accolades, including Silver President’s Volunteer Service Award 2020, the Spirit of America Award, and Top 15 and Top 6 State Finalist Awards, Kailtyn plans to shift her focus towards her foundation, the C.D.S Wheels of Love Foundation. Carson started this foundation two years ago to support the senior citizens of Georgia by providing them with grocery carts to transport heavy goods and personal items. Her goal includes purchasing one hundred carts with funds received from donations, sponsors, and other fundraising efforts.

Driven by the motivation to perfect her craft and overcome challenges, Carson becomes the best version of herself while helping others in her community. In the future, she plans to obtain a Bachelors of Science degree in Public Health with a minor in Global Health in the field of Epidemiology. Pageants have played a major role in her life, helping Carson become the person NC knows today.

“Most people have this preconceived notion that pageants are focalized on beauty. I believe that it is so much more. It is about intellect, personal achievements, academics,  poise, inclusion, networking, and enhancing your confidence. I feel that pageants have veered away from the stereotypical beauty standards and are gravitating towards being based more on scholastics, accolades, and future aspirations,” Carson said.