Talent, beauty and grace were abundant at the annual "Miss Lander University" pageant, held January 23 in Lander's Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium. Seven students took to the stage to compete for the crown, and this year's pageant incorporated elements of Mardi Gras, drawing on the theme of Lander's 2012 Homecoming festivities.
Contestants were judged on their performance in an interview session and competitions in talent, business/casual wear and formal wear. Capturing the 2012 title was sophomore Chelsey Carolyn Simmons, a nursing major from Greenwood. Sponsored by Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, she performed a jazz routine to Michael Jackson's hit song, "The Way You Make Me Feel," as her talent.
Junior exercise science major Tyler Jordan Rogers, of Moore, was named first-runner-up. Sponsored by Minorities on the Move, Rogers performed a clogging routine to "Get Me Bodied" by Beyonce. Her performance also earned her the pageant's Talent Award.
Second-runner-up was Miyarae LeiChelle Payton, a freshman mass communication major from Abbeville. For talent, Payton gave a performance of "Hands" by Sarah Kay. She was sponsored by Lander alumni Mike and Rozalynn Goodwin.
Tyler Rogers was also named Miss Congeniality in a tie with contestant Brittany Tierra Rogers, a senior health care management major from Union. Brittany Rogers was sponsored by Williamston Residence Hall Building 5, and she performed "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou.
Receiving the People's Choice award was junior Kymberlee Renee Byrd, a health care management major from Chapin. Byrd, sponsored by Lander's Academic Success Center, also gave a performance of Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman."
Also competing were: Rayshawn Jermeiss Trapp, a junior early childhood education/elementary education major from Blair, sponsored by the Lander University Presidential Ambassadors, whose talent was a performance of Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All;" and Kaitlin Paige Stowe, of Gaston, a freshman majoring in mass communication, sponsored by Brookside Residence Hall Building 2, whose talent was a dance performance to the song "I'm Going Down" by Mary J. Blige.
The Miss Lander University 2012 pageant was presented by the National Association for Music Education. For more information, visit www.lander.edu.