Kristen Lackey: From UTM player to Miss UTM
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:02
Kristen Lackey, junior UTM softball player, was named Miss UTM 2013 and is believed to be the first student athlete to hold the title.
Lackey said she doesn’t believe there should be a stereotype of what a pageant girl is and what a student athlete is. She firmly believes the two can complement each other well.
“I was asked [about stereotypes] in my interview and the thing that I told them was ‘I don’t want any one to define me, I’m going to define myself.’ So, I’m going to choose to be successful on the softball field and choose to be successful off the softball field. If that means being in a pageant and being successful that way, then so be it,” Lackey said.
Lackey has been competing in pageants since she was in middle school and has competed in six or seven pageants throughout the years. Lackey’s mother says she’s been competing in pageants since she was old enough to ask.
“Old enough to ask means middle school, some people think ‘oh gosh, you’ve been doing this since you were a toddler’ but that’s not what she means,” Lackey said.
The Miss UTM pageant was Lackey’s first “full blown pageant,” which she describes as one that she has the potential to move on to another level. Lackey says the Miss UTM pageant was the first where she had to compete in talent, swimsuit and interview. The others she has competed in only included eveningwear and on stage question.
Lackey’s preparation for the Miss UTM pageant was not as intense as she says the preparation for Miss Tennessee will be. Lackey says she did not have a hired coach. Instead, her teammate Rebecca Williams took on the responsibility of being her pageant coach.
“A lot of the girls that I competed against I know had specific pageant coaches, and being an athlete I didn’t have that here in Martin, so Becca [Williams] was that support system for me,” Lackey said.
Lackey says not only Williams, but also her entire team and all her coaches were so supportive of her decision to compete in the pageant. The UTM Softball team and coach attended the pageant to demonstrate their support for Lackey.
“They were so supportive. They were all sitting in the corner, and I could hear their voices when I was on stage, which was absolutely incredible,” Lackey said.
Lackey described the most emotional part of the night being when her head coach, Coach Donley Canary, walked up to the stage after she was crowned and gave her a big hug.
“I could cry thinking about it. When I’m here, Coach Canary and his wife are like a second family. I could not have been blessed with a better coach. The fact that he came to support me in something that he’s not even a part of meant so much to me,” Lackey said.
The former Miss UTM, Bethany Meeks, offered a bit of advice for the year, to ‘seize the moment’ and to enjoy it while it lasts. Lackey says she has a plan to make sure she ceases her moments as Miss UTM.
“I am keeping a journal because I want to go back a relive this, all the things I was feeling when I won, what I’m doing to prepare, and everything throughout the year. Hopefully when it’s done, I can go back and read and relive it,” Lackey said.
Lackey credits softball with helping her prepare for the Miss UTM pageant. She says she didn’t have to worry about pageant workouts because she had conditioning and running for softball. Lackey had a scrimmage for softball the morning of the pageant. She had to play in the scrimmage game at 11:30 a.m. and then be ready and in her interview session with the judges by 1:45 p.m.
“There are so many things I’ve learned being a student athlete that helped me in the pageant; time management, being poised and keeping my head in situations that I may not be comfortable in. If I make an error on the field, I can’t get down, I have to keep my head up and keep going,” Lackey said.
Lackey says she was most nervous about the interview portion of the competition. She spent the night before the competition reading lots of material on possible questions.
“I read up on laws. I’m going to be an educator, so I read a lot on gun control. I read about our state bird; I read about controversial issues and decided where I stood on those,” Lackey said.
During the interview portion, Lackey was asked, “If you were queen of the world, and had all power to do anything you wanted to do, what would you do with it tomorrow?” Lackey told the judges if she had all power, she would remove any child from a home that doesn’t have a stable family whether their family be physically or verbally abusive.
Lackey will be competing in the Miss Tennessee pageant with the platform “Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking” and the movement she supports is “In It to End It.”
Lackey plans to spread awareness about her platform locally. She says there are so many things that can be done to bring awareness. She has been involved in this organization for about four years.
“It absolutely blew me away, some of the statistics. I decided [at a conference senior year] that if there was anything I could do to help, I would,” Lackey said.