Bailey Kennon, left, and Alexia Williams from Orange Beach are Miss Alabama contestants.
Bailey Kennon, left, and Alexia Williams from Orange Beach are Miss Alabama contestants.
By John Mullen
June 4, 2018 – Orange Beach, AL (OBA®) – Two contestants from Orange Beach will be competing this week in the Miss Alabama Pageant starting Tuesday at Samford University in Birmingham.
 
Alexia Williams is the reigning Miss Coastal Alabama and will be competing in her first state pageant. A former Miss Coastal Alabama and reigning Miss Leeds Bailey Kennon will be competing in her third straight Miss Alabama.
 
“I ‘ve actually been able to be excited about it,” Kennon said. “In past years I’ve just been so nervous. I’m prepared, I’ve done the work and I’m ready to enjoy the week.”
 
Kennon said she would tell newcomers to relax and have fun.
 
“I would tell them to enjoy it,” Kennon said. “My first year I put so much pressure on myself to make the top 12 or do this or do that. It just added more pressure than there needed to be. Your first year is just learning, it’s learning the system and becoming more comfortable with the other contestants. Just enjoy yourself. You have plenty of years to compete. 
 
“Take that time and enjoy yourself and make memories.”
 
Contestants check in on Sunday of pageant week and competitions begin Tuesday with an interview with the judges. Wednesday is evening gowns, Thursday is talent and Friday is swimsuit and on-stage interviews.
 
From those competitions, the top 12 ladies are selected and compete again in all categories on Saturday when the eventual winner will be crowned.
 
“It’s a long pageant but once you’ve done it a couple of times you feel a lot more comfortable,” Kennon said. “I’m just excited to compete and see what happens. I’m doing what I came to do.”
 
Kennon was a top 12 qualifier in 2017. Her talent is music and her platform is based on her Expect Respect initiative.
 
“I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of appearances and I’ve been able to do a lot with my platform, Expect Respect which is a domestic abuse preventative program,” she said. “I’ve actually launched a pilot program of Expect Respect in three different schools, Gulf Shores High School, Leeds High School and Chickasaw Middle School in hopes of findings through the curriculum and pilot program to hopefully allow Expect Respect to become something that can be provided to any school in Alabama.”
 
A big part of the contest is earning money for school and Kennon says it’s been a big help as she pursues a business degree at UAB.
 
“I’m currently debt free in school between scholarships and the jobs I’ve worked,” Kennon said. “Between in-kind and scholarships, I’ve probably earned about $25,000 over the past two and a half years.”
 
Kennon said she’s ready for the week ahead.
 
“A lot of time and work this year but it feels good to have that accomplished,” she said. “Hopefully third time’s the charm.”