Miss Walking Tall wins big

Megan Smith

Miss Walking Tall wins big

Miss Walking Tall Sarah Stonier performs at the Miss Tennessee pageant on June 18. (Photo courtesy of the Jackson Sun.)

After five years of hard work in numerous pageants, Sarah Stonier’s dreams of competing in the Miss Tennessee Pageant came to life on Saturday June 18, 2011. Sarah Stonier of Knoxville, Tenn. always admired Miss America when she was a child, at a time when her life was far from easy.

Stonier stated, “I knew what it was like to live in a homeless shelter, to go to food banks and soup kitchens.”

Stonier’s mother worked alone to raise her and her two siblings.  They moved around a lot, and Stonier said that it was a difficult childhood.

At the age of 18, Stonier moved to Mississippi.  In Mississippi, Stonier’s best friend’s mother was Miss Virginia in the ‘70s.  From her, Stonier learned how pageants work.  

In February of 2007, Stonier competed in her first preliminary competition, Miss Knoxville.  She kept competing and finally won Miss Walking Tall in February of 2011.

Stonier fared well in the 2011 Miss Tennessee Scholarship Pageant.  In the pageant, Stonier’s cause was epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a life-threatening skin condition.  

Stonier claimed that she became interested in this cause because one of her best friends nieces was born with EB.

Stonier read an article about how it is painful for children with EB to be hugged, and it broke her heart.  Stonier loves to be hugged, and she knew she wanted to be vocal and embrace the cause.

In the pageant, Stonier made it into the top ten contestants.  She was selected as a Tennessee Miracle Maker for the money she raised for Children’s Miracle Makers.  The contestants chosen for this honor were given a plaque and a $1000 scholarship. In addition, Stonier will receive over $4,000 in scholarships.

Also, Stonier was one of the three winners of the preliminary swimsuit competition, along with Miss Lexington, Madeline Littrell, and Miss Shelby County, Jill Brooks.

Also, the delegates voted Stonier Miss Congeniality.  After winning these numerous awards Stonier stated that she felt like Miss America.  She said that she was blessed abundantly.

Stonier said that she loves being a part of the pageants, especially the Miss Tennessee pageant.  She said that every director she met was there for the right reasons, not only to see their contestant win, but also to see every woman on stage succeed. 

Stonier stated, “Miss Tennessee sees the big picture.  It is a family.” She said that it was amazing to be a part of it all.

Stonier advises young women hoping to someday compete in beauty competitions to follow Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice:  “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”  

Stonier says that anything you dream you can make possible, and her story is one which proves this to be true.