Meketi is Miss UT Martin; Chandler is Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival
Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 8:01 pm
Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival crowned – Chelsea Chandler, of Germantown, second from left, won the 2011 Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival title at the annual Miss University of Tennessee at Martin/Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Pageant, Saturday night, at the Student Life Center at UT Martin. First runner-up was Elizabeth Murphree, also of Germantown, left; and second runner-up was Sarah-Taylor Argo, of Alamo, right. Chandler was crowned by Loren Dean, second from right, 2010 Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival.
Meagan Meketi, of Paris, was crowned Miss University of Tennessee at Martin at the combined Miss UT Martin/Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Pageant, Saturday night, at the Student Life Center on campus. The UT Martin biology major won the 2011 title and the opportunity to compete in the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant in June in Jackson
Also headed to the Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant is Chelsea Chandler, of Germantown, a Christian Brothers University psychology/music major, who won the Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival title.
The winners led a field of 12 contestants in the sold out pageant. They each received a $1,500 scholarship. Miss UT Martin 2010, Taren Hatcher, of Greenfield, crowned Meketi. Chandler was crowned by Loren Dean, formerly of Brighton, 2010 Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival.
“This is only the second pageant I’ve done,” said Meketi following her win, “so I am excited.” She decided to enter the pageant about two weeks before the deadline, so there was not much time to prepare. “I did it for fun,” she said, adding that her mother and grandmother also wanted her to enter. Meketi said she knew she would meet people, it would be a good experience and “everybody likes to dress up.” Meketi has had 11 years of piano lessons. “That was the thing I was most confident about going into it. It’s one of my favorite things, so I just went out there and did it.” As for Miss Tennessee pageant preparations, Meketi said, “I’m very excited about that, as well.” She’ll work on walking, stage presence and posture, because she has limited pageant experience, and may prepare a different piano selection. With more time to prepare she’ll also “work out and definitely be running.”
Meketi’s platform is the American Cancer Society.
“You know, I’m so excited,” Chandler said about winning the pageant.
“My dad couldn’t be at the last pageant that I was in, and he was able to be here tonight.” She added, “I feel like a part of myself grew up in Martin. I have so many fond memories here.” Chandler noted that growing up she showed horses in the building right behind where the pageant was located. She added that she is happy to have an opportunity to give back to the community that has given so much to her.
To prepare for the Miss Tennessee Pageant, Chandler said she’d concentrate on getting more comfortable with the multiple elements of the competition. “Singing’s really my thing, so I’m clearly comfortable when I do that. I’ve lost 30 pounds since September just to get into this position.”
She added she’d “just work harder to get in the best shape of my life so I can hopefully bring home a title for Martin.”
Chandler recently auditioned in New Orleans for American Idol and received a Golden Ticket and auditioned again in Hollywood. It was her second Golden Ticket. Last year, she auditioned in Dallas and Hollywood, but did not make the show.
Her platform is animal advocacy.
Runners-up for the Miss UT Martin crown were: Sally Seputo, of Milan, a junior broadcast journalism major, first; and Leah Rogers, of Brighton, a junior UT Martin elementary education major, second. All members of the Miss UT Martin court must be UT Martin students.
For Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival, Elizabeth Murphree, of Germantown, a freshman Mississippi State University communications major was first runner-up, and Sarah-Taylor Argo, of Alamo, a junior Middle Tennessee State University interdisciplinary major (grade 4-8) math concentration, was second runner-up.
Hatcher and Dean were hostesses for the evening and entertained the audience with vocal selections. Hollie Holt, of Martin, directed the pageant.
“I am excited about working with our two new titleholders,”?said Holt. “We had a great group of girls compete tonight,” Holt added. “Each year, the Miss Tennessee system gives young women the opportunity to learn and grow as they develop platforms and give back to their communities. Our two titleholders are prime examples of what the system is all about.”