Fair queen impresses at state level

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 29, 2008

NEWSOMS—Mallory Taylor was not only the fairest of them all at last summer’s Franklin-Southampton County Fair, she apparently impressed judges at the state level as well.

Placing as fourth runner-up out of 27 queens at the Virginia Association of Fairs Pageant held at the Williamsburg Lodge Jan. 5, the 17-year-old senior at Southampton High School enjoyed her experience at the event.

&uot;I know we haven’t had anyone place (at the state level) since I’ve been doing this,&uot; said Pam Ellis, director of the local fair queen pageant for the last five years. &uot;We’ve had many pretty and smart girls, but just have never gotten this far.&uot;

For the daughter of Donna and David Taylor of Newsoms, there were no butterflies in the pit of her stomach, even though she was about to participate in an event that would be held in front of at least 500 people.

&uot;I don’t get nervous at pageants,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;I was into the (Virginia) Tech game that first night, so we ate at a sports bar so I could watch it.&uot;

The schedule, however, was hectic for the young ladies. After arriving the Thursday before the pageant for registration, Friday was kicked off by one-on-one interviews, where they were also asked about their platforms.

&uot;My platform is raising awareness about childhood obesity,&uot; she said. &uot;The judges asked about what I have done to promote my platform in the area.&uot;

Taylor has put together a program that promotes exercise and healthy lifestyles for children at Meherrin Elementary School.

She has about 25 youth in third, fourth and fifth grade who have signed up to participate in a 1-mile walk/run to be held at Southampton High School in February.

Like a mini-marathon, the children will have log in sheets to keep track of how far they walked or ran.

&uot;A lot of them think they can’t accomplish their goals or that exercise can’t be fun,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s exciting to see them gain confidence.&uot;

Taylor also coaches a basketball team at the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA along with Sarah Waller.

Taylor had to give a 1-minute speech about her platform, &uot;and they were very strict about sticking to the time,&uot; said Ellis. &uot;If anyone went over, 5 points from each of the five judges were taken off.&uot;

The girls then learned the dance routine for the opening number they would perform the very next day.

&uot;That’s the first time I got to meet the other queens,&uot; Taylor said.

After the dance routine, the girls were judged on personality, during which they delivered a 30-second speech. Evening gowns were then judged.

&uot;The top 10 were chosen,&uot; she said. &uot;Then they had us back on stage in the evening gowns for a 60-second speech about our platforms. Then the top five were announced.&uot;

Taylor said they called the fifth place first.

&uot;I was happy to have made it that far,&uot; she said. &uot;A lot of the other girls were in college and had entered pageants many times before.&uot;

Taylor said her only regret was not getting to spend more time getting to know the other pageant participants and learning about their counties.

&uot;It was a real honor to represent our community and bring back fourth runner up,&uot; she said. &uot;I’d like to thank Pam for everything she’s done for me. She made it fun and less stressful.&uot;

Taylor is very active in school as senior class officer, Key Club vice president, Christian Club member, Students Against Destructive Decisions member, Tribe member, co-editor of The Nottoway yearbook, and member of the National Honor Society member and the varsity volleyball team.

She is vice president of the youth group at Newsoms Baptist Church, sings in the choir there, and is personal relations coordinator for the Leader’s Club at the local YMCA. She plans to attend Ferrum College in the fall to major in recreation and tourism management, and minor in communications broadcasting.