The week of July 14-20 is approaching quickly, but Taylor Smith of Mansfield will be ready as she represents the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith at Hot Springs in the Miss Arkansas Pageant that week.
Smith, a 20-year-old media communications major who won the 2013 Miss UAFS title in March, spends from four to six hours a day working out, rehearsing her talent and staying informed in preparation for the interview process.
"I try to stay up to date on current events," Smith said. "I watch as much news as I can. News updates come to my phone so, even on the go, I can still see what‘s happening and research it later."
A send-off party for Smith will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 22, in the Reynolds Room of the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center at UAFS. Smith will use the event to showcase her pageant wardrobe and entertain guests with her pageant talent, which is vocal performance.
The send-off also allows the public to show their support and provides a venue for Smith’s supporters to give her a gift to help offset her personal expenses in the competition. A "wish list" from Smith can be acquired by visiting the Campus and Community Events Office in the Campus Center.
"It’s an honor to represent UAFS," Smith said "This institution has given me many opportunities to succeed, and competing in Miss Arkansas is another chance UAFS is giving me to excel. I’ve wanted to represent UAFS at the Miss Arkansas Pageant since I first started competing in pageants, and now that opportunity is here."
Smith admits she has one struggle in preparation for the state pageant — time management.
"Every appearance they’ve scheduled for me is on my calendar in my phone," she said. "And my phone goes with me everywhere. So I always know when and where I have to be. It’s important for me to schedule my time wisely and make the most of every minute of the day."
Smith has a great deal of optimism about one particular aspect of the competition.
"I’m looking forward to the evening gown competition," Smith said. "I love the elegance of this portion of the pageant. And of course, I love seeing all of the beautiful gowns."
Sherry Card of Fort Smith is co-chair and business manager of the UAFS Pageant Committee. She said Smith is very impressive in her work habits and determination.
"Taylor is going to do a great job of representing UAFS at Miss Arkansas because she’s realized the importance of being an upstanding role model to so many young women," Card said. "And she’s proud to be a part of the Miss America System because it’s the largest scholarship foundation for women in the country."
Card said she knows Smith is going to do well.
"Taylor is a genuinely nice person," Card said. "She has a strong support system. She’s taking this opportunity very seriously."
If Smith is crowned Miss Arkansas at Hot Springs, she will continue on to the Miss America Scholarship Pageant.