“It’s been a lot of fun getting to go and see Vegas. I’ve never been west of the Appalachian mountains.”
Miss North Carolina
By Kim Grizzard
Arlie Honeycutt had hoped to make her debut in East Carolina University’s Opera Theater last fall, but a different stage was awaiting her.
Honeycutt, who became Miss North Carolina in June, will compete in tonight’s 2013 Miss America Competition at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. If she is named a finalist, the 20-year-old ECU vocal performance student will have a chance to sing “Someone Like You” live on ABC.
The song, from the musical “Jekyll and Hyde,” is one Honeycutt has been perfecting with coaching from Jami Rhodes, an assistant professor of voice in ECU’s School of Music. Though her Miss North Carolina title required her to take a year off from her studies at ECU, Honeycutt has continued to work with Rhodes on her talent.
“She really is talented,” Rhodes said. “Her voice is quite lovely … she’s fantastic on stage. I think that’s one of her greatest strengths.
“It really just comes natural to her. She’s just incredibly poised; she’s really comfortable on stage,” Rhodes said. “I have no doubt whatsoever that she’s going to do a great job and represent us well.”
As a student, Honeycutt was selected as a representative in the ECU Ambassadors and was a member of Magnolia Belles, an a capella group. She had just auditioned for and received a role in the November production of “Lizzie Borden” when she won the Miss North Carolina crown.
Honeycutt, who was 14 when she competed in her first pageant, was following in the footsteps of her mother, a former Miss Wilson.
“Oddly enough, she competed on the same day, exactly 30 years to the day that I was crowned Miss North Carolina,” Honeycutt said in an interview from Las Vegas.
Since June, she has toured the state, promoting her platform “The Domino Effect: Inspiring Volunteerism One Person at a Time.”
Honeycutt’s own “Domino Effect” began in her native Garner when she was a teenager. A member of The Towne Players theater group, she worked to establish a theater camp scholarship for children in memory of a local Marine and theater member who was in Iraq.
“I kind of had to let it go when I went to college,” Honeycutt said. “But back home where I had started the scholarship fund, kids who had started as camp participants were now volunteering themselves.”
Meanwhile, Honeycutt had begun volunteering her time at ECU in projects like the local special needs prom. She will continue to promote volunteerism if she is chosen as Miss America.
“There are so many different ways to make a difference,” Honeycutt said. “It’s pretty much encouraging people to have a platform whether they’re a pageant girl or not.”
Honeycutt has spent the last 10 days with other pageant participants in Las Vegas preparing for tonight’s competition.
“It’s been a lot of fun getting to go and see Vegas,” she said. “I’ve never been west of the Appalachian mountains. I am 100 percent a North Carolina girl.”
Honeycutt misses ECU. She returned to campus to film her Miss America promotional video, which contestants used for online voting.
“Greenville has been so supportive,” she said. “I’m very fortunate to come from the Pirate Nation.”
She even took time from her travels to come back to town in November to catch the production of “Lizzie Borden.”
“The cast did a wonderful job,” Honeycutt said. “I was a little jealous not being able to be up there with them, but I was very proud of them.”
The 2013 Miss America Competition will air at 9 tonight on ABC.
Contact Kim Grizzard at email@example.com or 252-329-9578.
via The Daily Reflector.