In interviews with Northern Virginia Magazine, Miss Virginia and Miss Virginia USA — 26-year-old Katie Rose and 25-year-old Ashley Williams, respectively — discuss what it’s like to compete in pageants.
What was going through your head when you won?
KR: I feel as if I lost consciousness for about 15 seconds, because I don’t really remember what happened immediately. But I was like, ‘All my work has finally paid off. I did this. I conquered something that I set out to do.’ … I still have to pinch myself.
AW: I had zero expectations. I know how hard it is to win as a first timer, and I truly just wanted to do it to better myself and go through with the experience. … But when they called the first runner-up, I was like, ‘That wasn’t my name, so now what?’ So basically, I was like, ‘This is amazing!’
What is your favorite part about pageants?
KR: The impact you get to make on so many different people. And on top of that, I’ve just seen the growth within myself. This has been something for years that has held me accountable to be physically fit, to be well versed in what’s going on in the world around me.
AW: It’s really an area where you can thrive from the success of other women. … I see the pageant experience as an opportunity for iron to sharpen iron. When you’re among successful and intelligent women, generally you want to challenge yourself to be the same.
What are you looking forward to most during your next contest?
KR: I’ve always loved [the] interview. I think that that’s the part where I get to show the judges my true self, and why I’m here, and why I’m interviewing for this position. I think that I’ve got a lot of passion and things that I want to share, not only about my community service initiative, but about my own personal story with domestic violence.
AW: I’m definitely a social butterfly. I thrive off situations where I can meet and interact with other people, especially people who are going through such a similar journey as me now. All of us across the nation are so blessed to have this opportunity.
What are your favorite spots in NoVA?
KR: I love going to South Block. I love smoothie bowls. I also really appreciate some of the more rural areas of Loudoun County because I had the opportunity to grow up on a farm. Also in Loudoun, there’s a thrift store called Resourceful Woman, and their proceeds go directly to benefit and help survivors of domestic violence and give them the opportunity to purchase clothes and have the opportunity to have those items.
AW: I live right in the heart of Reston, amongst the shops and the restaurants. I love Makers Union for lunch or dinner. Over there at [Wiehle-Reston East Metro] station, there’s Matchbox and Founding Farmers. I love those restaurants. And then shopping, Tysons Corner mall — you can find everything. Lake Anne Plaza here is really nice on the water. The restaurant Red’s Table is nice.
Feature image of Katie Rose (Photo by Kimberly Needles Photography, courtesy the Miss Virginia Organization) and Ashley Williams (Photo courtesy @thecodecreatives)