What it takes to be queen
When it comes to being a queen, Miss Donaldsonville Teen, Tamiko Stroud, said that since she's gotten a crash course on royal duty, she can now share secrets of the throne.
The 17-year-old queen was crowned in August 2015 by the organization Pretty with a Purpose during the first Miss Donaldsonville Teen pageant. Stroud said not only was it her first pageant, but she also had no idea what the title would entail.
"I wasn't really a pageant person, I was just really involved in my community," Stroud said. "Surprisingly I won and I honestly didn't think I would because I just wasn't that type of person."
As Stroud's reign is coming to an end, an informational for the 2016 pageant will be held on Saturday. Stroud explained that the process begins there. After which, there will be a few more meetings discussing on-stage presence, question and answer segments, attire, interview and etiquette training - all of which Stroud said comes in handy.
"Throughout my whole term as Miss Donaldsonville Teen, I've just been volunteering in my community, outside of my community also, just putting Pretty with a Purpose out there, because that's a big deal, also the River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) - which is my platform."
Stroud said she was given the option to represent Donaldsonville at a state pageant level, but she chose to use her monetary donations to provide funding for her platform instead. Pretty with a Purpose founder, Bria Virgil, had hoped Stroud would compete statewide, but supported her decision to donate to RRAAM. A statewide option will not be mandated for the 2016-2017 queen either.
"The next queen needs to be able to hold herself as a positive young lady on social media and in-person," Stroud said. "People really will try to test you, and you just have to keep calm and be able to stay away from all the drama. You have to be able to have a decent conversation with people and be able to explain yourself - you might even have to give a speech. Being able to speak in front of people is the major thing."
Stroud said all interested teens should already be prepared to deliver what is called an 'elevator speech'.
"You need to be able to talk yourself up in a short amount of time - what you want to do, what do you want to be when you grow up, etc."
Stroud joked that the next Miss Donaldsonville Teen can look forward to the crown, but not her actual crown, as Stroud, who will be crowning the next queen, gets to keep her own jewels as a keepsake.
"If you like to dress up, make-up, meeting new people in high places, meeting other pageant queens is also awesome - I love to see another person with a sash on - it's so awesome, and being able to talk to other people who have experienced the same thing that you have, then this is for you."
The pageant is open to teen girls, ages 13 to 18, who live in Ascension Parish. Applications are available at iamprettywithapurpose.com and should be brought to the interest meeting.
Stroud said she expects that the competition will be fierce as she and Virgil have gotten the word out to all area eligible teens.
The pageant will be held on August 6 at the Lemann Center.