Should this year’s Miss District of Columbia be unable to perform her duties, one GW medical school student will have to step up.
Stephanie Williams, a 22-year-old student in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, took first runner-up in the Miss D.C. pageant at the Lincoln Theater earlier this month.
The experience, Williams said, was everything she expected it not to be. The other contestants were nice and the people at the pageant were supportive, making it a positive experience.
“You see ‘Miss Congeniality’ or whatever and you think going in, ‘Oh these girls are not going to be nice,’ but they weren’t mean at all,” Williams said. “No bad vibes from anyone.”
Growing up in Atlantic City, N.J., where the annual Miss America pageant had been held nearly every year until it left the city in 2004, Williams said she always knew she wanted to compete. The Miss D.C. pageant is unique in that it allows women who work or attend school in the District to compete, rather than limiting eligibility to residents. Her enrollment at GW allowed her to enter the pageant.
Her duties currently involve minor appearances and a first-runners-up pageant, and Williams said she will stay in school through next summer, when she hopes to get a second shot at capturing the title.
The pageant is decided by a panel of judges who rank the women based on several components, including interviews, on-stage questions, talent performances and appearances in evening wear and swimsuits. The top five are then ranked on a scale of one through five, which determines the winner of the pageant.
Contestants also choose social issues they support as a platform; Williams chose to support preventative care for the medically underserved.