Newly crowned Miss Arkansas Amy Crain said Sunday that she will spend her year promoting an anti-bullying message that is based on her own experiences.
The 23-year-old Hot Springs woman, who was crowned Miss Arkansas on Saturday night, said she moved from El Dorado to Hot Springs to complete her high school education after being the subject of bullying when she was a 16-year-old junior. She told The Associated Press that she started getting crude messages and that it escalated from there.
"I eventually received some death threats," said Crain, who competed in the pageant as Miss Diamond Lakes.
Crain, who was selected from among 45 contestants, said she plans to take her message to students statewide.
"I’ll talk to them about the emotions that it brought out in me," she said. "My hope is to relate to kids on an emotional level, I want kids to understand the severity of this problem, I want to explain what I’ve been through and the effect it had to me."
Crain said that while she carries no emotional scars from her experience, "there’s still moments," when she thinks about her experiences.
Crain, who began competing in pageants in 2005, previously finished as first and as second runner-up in the Miss Arkansas pageant.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Arkansas and said she eventually hopes to earn a master’s in communications and to open a catering business or a dance studio.
"I know that’s kind of an odd end of the spectrums, but it’s some things I’m passionate about," she said.
The pageant victory is worth a $20,000 scholarship and more than $50,000 in prizes and gifts and Crain will represent Arkansas in the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J., in September. She is hoping to become the third Miss Arkansas to win the Miss America title, after Donna Axum in 1964 and Elizabeth Ward in 1982.
"I’ve met Donna Axum, who was a Miss America who was incredible," Crain said. "She is such a classy lady, so elegant."
The Miss America Pageant finals are scheduled for Sept. 15, which Crain said will be her 24th birthday.