BY: Michael Blackson
If there is one message Rachel Johnston could take from being crowned in the Miss Millersville event of 2011, it is that “it’s a lot more fun than not being Miss Millersville.”
Rachel Johnston, a sophomore psychology major and Resident Assistant of Hobbs Hall, was crowned as Miss Millersville 2011 with a supportive cast of family members and friends during that “really exciting” night.
“I worked really hard to get to that point of thinking of a good outfit to wear, swimwear, and bringing my harp up for my talent, and preparing for presentation,” Rachel said.
Although she won the crown and bouquet of flowers, she called the event “nerve-racking,” as no one knew their question for the presentation and every Wednesday for three months was spent preparing for the event.
But she found comfort in an organization she belongs to: WIXQ. “I was going to bring this back to WIXQ,” said Rachel. She had been a member of Millersville’s radio station since her first semester of freshman year and has her own show. Rachel said, “I really love my organization, WIXQ, and that was the most exciting part.”
The audience also played a major role in calming her nerves for the night. “One thing I love about Millersville is how friendly the people are,” she said. “There was no one booing for anyone, it was all cheers.”
When Rachel made mistakes on her dance routine, “I still didn’t feel pointed out,” she remembered. In fact, the crowd was pumping her up!
“There was so much support from the audience,” said Rachel. Within the audience, her support consisted of WIXQ members, her parents, and friends who occupied an entire row. “I had a lot [of supporters],” she continued.
The event was very important to her. She had not won too many things in her life and had no prior experience in any kind of pageantry. “I’ve performed before, but not in the sense of promoting myself,” said Rachel. Her other performances before Miss Millersville were on the harp and dance routines. But those memories did not match the uniqueness of Miss Millersville. “It’s more individualistic, showing off what you can do,” Rachel said.
Rachel lived up to the uniqueness she felt at the event.
The eight contestants, including her, were required to show off their beachwear. Some may wear bikinis and others may wear a bathing suit, but Rachel “refused to wear” either of them. Instead, she wore long cutoff shorts, a WIXQ shirt, a boat made out of microwave boxes, a paper hat, a rubber chicken on her shoulder imitating a parrot, and waved a pirate flag.
Despite the competition, Rachel said that Miss Millersville was fun, “win or lose,” and she was “representing WIXQ.”
Before participating in Miss Millersville, she had to fundraise. Her grand total was over $100 for WIXQ through donations and selling program ads, getting people to attend the event.
But that was far from the part she worried about. The contestants were required to answer a random question from a fishbowl. “I had to calm myself for that question,” Rachel said. She drew first and her question was: ‘How will Millersville University help you seize the day before graduation’? Rachel mentioned WIXQ and being a Resident Assistant in her answer. She also referred to the Miss Millersville event: “A fun opportunity that I’ll never have the chance to do again,” she said.
Despite her nervousness, Rachel was crowned Miss Millersville, but she emphasized how the joy and excitement radiating from the other contestants and audience helped her through. “Anyone can do that,” said Rachel. “You just have to find it in you to go up there and do it.”