Chandler Lawson will be taking her first trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday, but she won’t have time to shop and gamble at the glittering casinos. However, she is hoping to overcome 53-1 odds when she represents Tennessee at next week’s Miss America Pageant.
The Tullahoma native, who represented Chattanooga when she became Miss Tennessee last June, is likely to get a birthday shout out from Chris Harrison and Brooke Burke-Charvet when the duo host the finals one week from Saturday on ABC (WTVC News Channel 9) beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The UT-Chattanooga honors graduate and incoming University of Tennessee Law School student will turn 23 on the 12th when she is among the 53 women vying to become Miss America 2013.
The pageant will be held at the Planet Hollywood Performing Arts Center for the eighth consecutive year where the 92nd Miss America will receive a $50,000 scholarship. She will then begin a year of travel promoting her personal platform as well as becoming a spokesperson for pageant sponsors including Artistry by Amway and Catalina Swimwear.
Three nights of preliminaries will start next Tuesday and conclude on Thursday when the judges’ panel including retired Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart, who was in the top ten at the 1970 pageant as Miss South Dakota, Dancing with the Stars’ Cheryl Burke, Good Morning America meteorologist Sam Champion and Olympic gymnastics team champion McKayla Maroney of the “Fab Five” will narrow the field to the top 15 which will be revealed in the opening minutes of Saturday’s telecast.
Miss Lawson competes in talent on Tuesday, on-stage question Wednesday and concludes with swimsuit and evening wear on Thursday. While she is the first Miss Chattanooga to compete at Miss America in over six decades, she is the second area resident to do so in the last four years. Miss Tennessee 2009 and former Miss Hamilton County Stefanie Wittler of Soddy-Daisy was the second runner-up at the 2010 pageant.
One of the finalists will be America’s Choice as the winner of the contest in which each of the 53 representatives submitted a video that is currently being shown on Miss America’s YouTube channel as well as on Facebook and the pageant website. http://www.facebook.com/missamericaorganization Voting will continue until midnight on Jan. 10.
A large contingent of family and friends from the Tullahoma and Chattanooga areas will be travelling to Las Vegas to support Miss Lawson who at 6' will be the tallest contestant of the 53. She will perform Adele’s “Turning Tables” for her talent presentation and promoting her community service accomplishments which is highlighted by her start-up of the weekend feeding program of 5 Loaves 4 Kids while still a high school student in Tullahoma.
Also representing the tri-state area is Miss Georgia Leighton Jordan of Suwanee and Miss Alabama Anna Laura Bryan of Decatur.
http://youtu.be/CiQ30ZCsCN0 -- Chandler’s video