Declaring that “God still has plans for me,” Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady said competing in the recent Miss America Pageant “was a win-win situation for me; the experiences and opportunities I am about to have are incredible.”
Eady wowed the pageant crowd with her signature musical ventriloquist act, “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart.” During her live interview question, she addressed the issue of national health care reform. Her platform in the Miss Arkansas and Miss America pageants highlighted the issue of “Developing Leaders: Boys and Girls Clubs of America.”
Since the pageant, Eady has attracted a whirlwind of media attention, with appearances scheduled on “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Inside Edition” and MSNBC.
“Usually, you expect your time in the spotlight to be over once they announce Miss America,” she pointed out. “It’s been different for me and it’s been quite a surprise. I’ve been contacted by people from all over the world, literally. Even though I didn’t win, God still has plans for me. It’s neat for me to see some of that unfold.
“Coming from a small state, it’s amazing the amount of support I received even before I left for Miss America,” Eady said. “I went there with a very strong group of supporters from Arkansas. It was an honor. I wouldn’t want to represent any other state.
“Not many girls get to say they’ve competed in Miss America,” she added. “To be there with 52 other girls and get to experience the excitement and exhaustion was something that I will never forget. The time we got to spend together as contestants, learning about each other’s states and planning trips to see each other, was such a good experience.”
As Eady progressed in the Miss America competition from the field of 53 contestants to the top 15, 12, 10, five and 1st runner-up, Facebook and Twitter posts from her fans kept track of her achievements. Enthusiastic posts ranged from “What a great representative for Arkansas and OBU!” and “Woooooo! Let’s go, Alyse! So proud of you!” to “My vote is for the ventriloquist. If you can yodel without opening your mouth, you deserve a crown.”
Reflecting on the pageant’s live television production, Eady said, “There are cameras that are right in your face and certain cues to remember. When they called the names for the top 15, I 100 percent was not expecting to hear my name. I was shocked. I was so excited.
“I just kind of stayed in the moment and that’s what kept me calm. As I went further and further, I became more calm. I did the very best I could and then was at peace that I had done everything I could.
Recalling pageant host Chris Harrison’s dramatic pause before announcing Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan as the new Miss America, Eady said, “In the final moment when it was the two of us, so many thoughts went through my head, but I was so genuinely excited for her. She’s going to make a great Miss America and I know the judges made the right choice.”
After graduating from Ouachita last May with a double major in mass communications and speech communication, Eady was crowned Miss Arkansas 2010 last July. Prior to beginning her reign, Eady served as the fundraising and event coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She is the daughter of Lewis and Lady Eady of Fort Smith; her father is a former member of the Ouachita Board of Trustees.
“The Ouachita community and I as president could not be more proud of Alyse Eady,” said Ouachita President Rex Horne. “She is a committed, talented young woman whose beauty shines in every noble way.
“Becky and I watched the pageant with great pride and expectancy,” Dr. Horne added. “The poise with which Alyse performed is a credit to her family, her own work and, I think, the impact Ouachita has upon her life’s path. We congratulate Alyse as we do her parents, Lewis and Lady.”
Eady, 22, competed as Miss South Central Arkansas in the Miss Arkansas Pageant. In addition to being crowned Miss Arkansas 2010, she was named the Coleman Dairy Overall Talent Award winner. She also previously held the title of 2004 Miss Teen Arkansas. Eady was one of six contestants with Ouachita ties who competed in last year’s Miss Arkansas pageant.
During her years at Ouachita, Eady was named to the Dean’s List, performed as a Tiger Tunes Hostess and on the Miss OBU Court of Honor and spent a semester studying at the University of Alicante in Spain.
Affirming the impact of her liberal arts education at Ouachita, Eady said, “Getting that broad education where you learn a little bit about everything helped me in my interview with the judges. Legislation, world events, state issues – those are all things I had classes about at Ouachita. The interview portion of the competition was so much easier for me because of what I learned at Ouachita. I feel like I was confident in knowing how to communicate with each judge on a personal level.
“One thing I really like about Ouachita is that going to OBU teaches you how to stand strong in your faith,” she concluded, “knowing what you believe and why you believe it, but also to be able to listen to other people and to share your beliefs with them.”
Prior to Eady being named 1st runner-up, another Ouachita alumna was a Miss America finalist in 2005. Lacy Fleming Glover, a 2004 Ouachita graduate, was 3rd runner-up to Miss America that year. Glover held the titles of Miss OBU 2004 and Miss Arkansas 2004.
By Trennis Henderson, OBU Vice President for Communications