Miss Vermont 2010, Caroline Bright, Epsilon Kappa/St. Lawrence U, left, and Miss Kentucky 2011, Ann-Blair Thornton, Chi Theta/Western Kentucky U.
Chi Omegas Flourish
Caroline Bright, Miss Vermont 2010, Epsilon Kappa/St. Lawrence U
Friendship Flourishes, Thanks to Miss America Competitions
Competing at Miss America
takes work. Serious
dedication and willpower
go into the preparations
for state titleholders as
they prepare to compete
for the Holy Grail of Pageantry.
Ann-Blair became Miss
Kentucky 2011 after years
of hard work in the gym,
preparing for the swimsuit
competition; at the
piano, rehearsing Rachmaninoff’s
Prelude in G
Minor; and in her community,
platform of Alzheimer’s
Awareness and Research.
She has worked earnestly,
acted sincerely, and has been discouraged never as she competed in more than 12 local
and state pageants in pursuit of her goal of achieving the job and title of Miss America.
I met Ann-Blair in August 2007. We were both in Orlando competing for the title of Miss
America’s Outstanding Teen. She was representing Kentucky and I, Vermont. I was nervous
about the summer heat and upset because I couldn’t use hot rollers or hair spray. But
most of all I was dreading meeting the other contestants, especially the Southern girls. I
expected them to be very different from me, a pale, geeky girl from a tiny town in rural
Vermont, and that the coming 10 days would be lonely and awkward.
Little did I know I was about to be proven wrong by a girl who would become not just a
best friend, but someday, my Sister.
What I noticed first about Ann-Blair Thornton was her put-together outfits, gorgeous
gowns, and charming twang. So I was caught off guard when I discovered her hilariously
quirky sense of humor, her strong and informed political opinions, and her intellectual
prowess. I knew then that I’d found a kindred spirit.
When Ann-Blair was called into the Top 10 on the final night of the Miss America’s
Outstanding Teen competition, I was so excited for her that there was no room for me to
be disappointed because I wasn’t a finalist. She ended up in the Top 5 that evening, and I
was so very proud of my new friend.
About a year later, in the fall of 2008, I went through recruitment at St. Lawrence U, a week
after Ann-Blair received her bid from Chi Theta Chapter at Western Kentucky U. One
of my favorite Bid Day memories is jumping up and down and screaming into the phone
“Chi Omega Yours Forever!!!” to my friend and soon-to-be Sister.
Over the years, I’ve watched as Ann-Blair has lived The
Symphony of Chi Omega and my admiration for my sweet
friend has only grown.
While at Western Kentucky U, Ann-Blair served as Chi
Theta’s recruitment chair, leading her Sisters through
what we all know to be one of the hardest and most wonderful
times of the year. Her unwavering support for her
chapter and for the many Chi Omegas she has supported
on the Miss America and Miss Kentucky stages demonstrate
her loyalty under any and all circumstances to our
But what I love most about our Sister, Ann-Blair, is not
just what she demonstrates on stage or in her chapter’s
house, it’s the countless ways in which she has placed
character before appearances, lived above snobbery, and
chosen to be lovable rather than popular. She is the Sister
who flew thousands of miles to support me when I needed
her most, the friend I can text about election results, and
the young woman who stood up for gender equality minutes
before being crowned Miss Kentucky.
It is an honor to say that my Sister is Miss Kentucky 2011,
but it is the privilege of a lifetime to be able to say that
Ann-Blair Thornton is my friend.