An Ashley County woman will participate in the Miss Arkansas pageant this weekend.

Rachel Langley of Crossett is the reigning Miss South Central Arkansas and will travel to Little Rock Friday to spend the week competing for the state title.

Langley said there are five stages of the competition and she will begin with an opening interview on Monday. Langley said she thinks the interview is her favorite part.

“I always get excited talking about my platform, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance, because it’s an organization not many people know about, and I love being an ambassador and a spokesperson for them,” Langley said.

After the interview, Langley will spend the next few days competing in the swimsuit, evening gown and on-stage question portion of the contest.

“It may sound crazy, but I’m really not nervous,” Langley said.

Langley said she feels prepared and plans to present the best version of herself to the judges.

According to Langley, the most important part of the experience is the impact she has on the younger girls who look up to her. Langley mentors young girls through the Miss Diamond State Princess program. This program allows young girls to take the stage with local title holders so that they may learn what the organization is all about.

“I started as a Diamond State Princess and am now competing for the Miss Arkansas title,” Langley said.

As a former Miss Diamond State Princess, Langley said she is excited to say she now has three princesses of her own to mentor — Kaylynn Sands of Magnolia, Lauren Hunter of Benton and Bethany Austin of Jonesboro.

Langley said she wants to encourage young ladies interested in pageants to try it out.

“Pageants are so much more than just getting dressed up and walking across the stage,” Langley said.

She has gained so much from competing, Langley said, she has learned life skills and the importance of volunteering in her community.

Langley said scholarships are another big reward for those who participate in pageants.

The Miss Arkansas Pageant is giving away $184,300 in scholarships this summer, and according to its Website, it is the largest scholarship provider for young women in the state.

Langley said one of her goals is to collect enough scholarships to graduate college debt free and maybe even win enough to pay for a portion of law school.

Langley is not the first in her family to fall in love with the pageant world, and said her big sister and former Miss Arkansas contestant, Randee Jo Langley, was her biggest inspiration and the reason she started competing.

“She has showed me what true determination is and I have loved watching her in pageants,” Langley said.

After years of following Randee Jo to the Miss Arkansas stage, it is finally Rachel’s turn, and Rachel said Randee Jo will be there as her biggest supporter.

“She is always the loudest in the crowd cheering me on and I know that she will always be my biggest fan, just like I was hers,” Rachel said.

The Miss Arkansas pageant will begin June 12, and the new Miss Arkansas will be crowned live on Channel 7 on June 16.

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