Robin Willingham said one thing you do not see in televised pageants is the stress that goes along with the performance. She knows the stress firsthand because her daughter, Madison Willingham, is the current Miss Lubbock.
“I was a nervous wreck,” Robin Willingham said. “You cannot breathe until it’s over.”
Madison is a junior public relations major at Texas Tech University. To compete for the crown, a contestant must be a college student.
“It’s pretty easy to balance and it’s really fun to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Madison Willingham said.
Madison was ecstatic about being crowned Miss Lubbock, but she was most excited about the philanthropy project she will promote throughout the year.
During her reign, she will promote the program “I Love to Read” at Lubbock schools and go to used books fairs to promote literacy, an issue she has been passionate about for years.
“I love children and I’ve always loved to read,” Madison Willingham said. “Texas is actually fifth in the nation in illiteracy, so just to make a difference in that is something that I’m really looking forward to.”
The Miss Lubbock competition starts with an extensive interview process before the pageant. Then, an audience gathers to watch the contestants perform in the swimsuit, talent, on-stage question and evening wear events. Finally, the judges pick a winner for the crowning.
Madison said she started doing pageants to prepare for her future goal of going to law school. She said the interview process for the Miss America organization is one of the hardest someone can go through. She said if she can do them, she can do any law interview.
“She’s a really smart girl and she’s got plans for her life not just right now,” her grandfather, David Stone, said.
Stone was at the pageant and said he was surprised when he first saw her crowned, but thinks it was an accurate judgement on pageants’ part.
“I’ve been proud of her my whole life and everything she does does not surprise me, but that was just another wonderful thing,” Stone said.
Robin Willingham said Madison went into the event saying she would walk away a winner no matter the results because of the skills and knowledge the competition gave her.
“I think that’s where my biggest admiration of my daughter is, that she is able to put herself out there, win or lose,” Robin Willingham said.
Madison did not tell many people that she was competing in the competition. So when she told the members of her sorority, Chi Omega, that she won, she was amazed at the amount of support they gave.
Madison will now go on to compete for the Miss Texas crown on July 4, 2017.