Just two years ago Georgia Frazier and McKensie Garber were students at the same university. Now they have something else to add to their resume: They were both Miss America contestants. The pair represented their home states of Oklahoma and Missouri in Atlantic City last week.
Garber met Frazier in an interview she was conducting for the school paper where the two discovered a common bond of pageants. Their friendship has only grown since then.
“We’ve supported each other through the whole pageant process,” said Garber. “I think it’s amazing that we get to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience together. It’s very crazy since ORU doesn’t really have a pageant reputation. It’s so cool to get to do this with one of my friends from college.”
Frazier entered her state pageant with her eye on education. The 2014 graduate planned on attending New York University’s graduate school for Sports Business and knew her passion would help on the financial side.
“I graduated debt free due to this organization and want to be able to continue to inspire individuals to follow their dreams,” said Frazier.
Garber always hoped for this experience. The media major had graduated a year early when her childhood dream became a reality. She started in dance at the age of three with pageants to follow. The sacrifice was worth it in the end for the 21-year-old.
“The perfect situation was for me to win Miss Missouri right out of college,” said Garber. “I know I’m in God’s timing for my life. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, and I’m in His plan for my future. I feel like I’ve worked my whole life for this.”
Both contestants admit their favorite part of the experience is the people. They have served as spokeswomen throughout their home states in this process and developed friendships with their competitors.
“I always try to gain the feeling of ‘being enough,’” said Frazier. “Parents are more likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl than a daughter compete at Miss America, and I think right there should provide the feeling of being enough. It’s hard in this day and age to feel pretty enough, talented enough and smart enough, but through this experience I have felt all three and more.”
Garber credits her alma mater for her ability to perform under pressure. The 2015 graduate was involved in chapel creative, the school paper, radio station and many productions with the theatre department.
“I feel like I’m at such an advantage, because I had such a unique college experience,” said Garber. “It was so rigorous. I felt like ORU produces the kind of people Miss America is looking for, because they’re so well-rounded. It pushed me to strive for excellence in every area of my life. You have to be well rounded in this organization, and you have to know who you are. My experience at ORU far surpassed any of my expectations. I’ve always wanted to feel like I was the best version of myself coming to Miss America, and I feel like ORU did that for me. I was surrounded by so many amazing people.”
Garber was eliminated in the first round of cuts. Frazier placed top 10 in the pageant on Sunday evening.
“It was a whirlwind, super fast and exhilarating. It was a dream come true singing on the Miss America stage and wearing my dream gown,” said Frazier. “All these years of hard work finally paid off. I just glorified God all night.”
Both Garber and Frazier will continue to represent their respective states until next summer when they will crown a new Miss for their states.