Newly crowned Miss Oklahoma looks forward to Miss America pageant
An OU student was crowned Miss Oklahoma 2012 on Saturday at the Mabee Center in Tulsa. Alicia Clifton, broadcast journalism junior, received a $16,000 scholarship in addition to the title.
The third time was the charm for Clifton, who was named second runner-up in the 2010 and 2011 Miss Oklahoma competitions. She will now go on to represent Oklahoma at the Miss America pageant Jan. 12 in Las Vegas.
Clifton said she ran on a platform of lifelong volunteerism, encouraging others to “T.A.P.” into volunteering — time, action and passion.
“You should figure out how much time you have available, take action to volunteer instead of procrastinating and find something you’re passionate about doing,” she said.
Clifton said anyone can do it — it’s just a matter of finding the best volunteer project that's best for each person.
Clifton first developed her platform when she was competing in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant, she said.
She became interested in the competitions after watching Miss Oklahoma Shawntel Smith win the 1996 Miss America pageant. Fourteen years later, Clifton said she finds it hard to believe she will be competing for the same title.
“It’s one of those things I always dreamed about,” she said. “But when it really happened, I was like, ‘Is this real or am I dreaming right now?’”
She said competing on the Miss America stage is something she’s always wanted to do.
“I’m totally excited but kind of nervous,” she said. “Oklahoma has a reputation for doing really well in the Miss America pageant.”
Oklahoma is tied with California and Ohio for the most Miss America titles. Since the pageant began in 1921, six contestants from each state have won the title.
“It’s something I’m always going to have butterflies about, but it will be fun and a good experience,” she said. “I’ll try my best and whatever happens, happens.”
Clifton met Smith and the four other living Miss Americas from the state Monday: Lauren Nelson, Jennifer Berry, Susan Powell and Jane Jayroe. Norma Smallwood, Miss America 1926, died in 1966.
“They are all so sweet and so graceful,” she said. “It’s easy to see why they won the title.”
She said this year is important to those involved with the Miss Oklahoma pageant because it is the 40th anniversary of the Kiwanis Club of Tulsa, which sponsors the pageant.
The pageant offers more than $2,000,000 in scholarships to contestants each year, according to the website.
Clifton, a broadcasting and electronic media junior, said she is going to take a year off from school to focus on the pageant. However, she does plan to continue her education in the future.
“Education has always been extremely important to me,” she said. “Family comes first and school right afterward, then dance and pageants.”