COLUMBIA — MU student Hope Driskill has watched the Miss USA and Miss America pageants for years. She began competing in pageants around her sophomore year of high school but stopped because of her busy schedule.
A year ago, Driskill watched as a hometown acquaintance was crowned Miss USA. Inspired, she promised herself that she would improve her time management and compete in the pageant.
The MU junior, a member of Chi Omega sorority, represented Jefferson City in competition held on Nov. 14 in Springfield and left with the crown of Miss Missouri USA.
“It was one of the most shocking moments of my life,” she said.
Being busy continued to be a challenge while preparing for the pageant.
“The most challenging thing I would definitely have to say is budgeting my time,” Driskill said. “I am definitely busy on campus and with school. I had to make time to eat healthy, to go to the rec, practice — practice walking and practice the interview.”
The competition has five judges and is made of three parts: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The women who make it to the top five have an additional on-stage interview that can cover a range of topics, such as the contestant’s hobbies and future goals to current political events.
Driskill won the interview award with the highest score in that category.
“I would have my friends ask me the most random questions,” Driskill said. “That and I just really had to keep up with what’s going on. My classes really helped a lot. They’re political science classes. That’s my major.”
Chelsea Caswell, MU junior and one of Driskill's roommates, helped her prepare by practicing interview questions such as her opinion of federal health care to the one thing she'd change about Missouri.
"She put a lot of time and effort into it," Caswell said.
Caswell was in the audience when Driskill was crowned.
"We all went for Hope," she said. "There were probably 15 of us, including her family. The experience was awesome for all of us and I think it helped her that we could be there."
Driskill will represent Missouri in the 2011 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas at the end of April.
“That will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Driskill said. “I’m excited. I know I have a lot of practicing and work to do. The next couple of months will be really busy, but I’m really looking forward to it.”