USC students among hopefuls in 2012 state pageant
For second-year dance student Lauren Cabaniss, this week’s Miss South Carolina pageant is about more than looking forward to her future. It also involves a bit of retrospection.
“I was a Palmetto Princess for Miss Greater Greer 2001 (Jeanna Raney) and [Raney] won Miss South Carolina that year,” Cabaniss said standing amid racks of Lilly Pulitzer frocks at Pink Sorbet on Devine Street. “I’m Miss Greater Greer now. So it’s come full circle.”
With competition preliminaries beginning Tuesday night at the Township Auditorium and continuing throughout the week, the current Miss Greater Greer hopes to finally complete the circle by being crowned Miss South Carolina 2012, an award that just escaped her grasp last year.
The third runner-up slot wasn’t a complete disappointment though. For her first “Miss” pageant she won preliminary and overall swimsuit awards, which earned her $6,500, Cabaniss said.
She started her pageant career in small pageants as a 12-year-old to get experience on stage. A dancer from a young age, Cabaniss was looking to work on her stage presence for the solos she’d begin performing. She says that before long, she was bitten with the “pageant bug,” and she was hooked.
“When I saw my Miss Queen win in 2001 I was like ‘I want to be just like her, I want to be Miss South Carolina and then go on to Miss America,’” Cabaniss said of her Palmetto Princess experience. Through the Palmetto Princess mentoring program, Cabaniss joined the former Miss S.C. in appearances, volunteer opportunities and the Miss South Carolina Pageant production.
It’s not all smiles and poses for Cabaniss though, who explained a schedule of two-a-day rehearsals, lunch appearances and competition for the week. “I wouldn’t really call it a sport but overall it’s a great learning experience,” she said. “ It covers so many spectrums of what you’re doing. It covers the service, the speaking, the athleticism because you’re working out for the swimsuits, you’re having to perform a talent so it even covers the arts.”
Because of the scope of the competition, the contestants are constantly preparing with interview coaches and personal trainers and having photography sessions.
Cabaniss isn’t the only USC representative in the pageant. Third-year public relations student and Miss Capital City Anna Mills Polatty wowed the audience in Monday night’s talent portion, taking first place for her vocal performance. In her introductory video, Polatty said that having been born premature and not expected to live, she was especially inspired by the pageant’s affiliation with the Children’s Miracle Network.