GREENVILLE — It was on a whim that Audrey Frank opted to compete in the Miss Danish Festival pageant last August. She won that title, earning the right to compete in the Miss Michigan Scholarship pageant and perhaps proceed to the Miss America Scholarship pageant.
Following a send-off celebration last Friday at Greenville Area Community Center, Frank, 20, of Greenville, will leave Sunday for Muskegon for rehearsals, public appearances, photos and autograph sessions prior to two evenings of preliminary rounds and Saturday evening’s final round of competition among the 31 contestants vying for the title of Miss Michigan.
“I had not even considered the idea of ever being in the Miss Michigan pageant,” said Frank, the daughter of Mark and Kathy Frank. “For a lot of the girls, it has been their goal for years and years, and I hadn’t ever dreamed of it. But this past year I have grown so much and after seeing the other girls who will be at Miss Michigan, it is so exciting and I am glad I am doing it.”
The young women will each have a private interview with a panel of judges before competing in preliminary rounds of evening wear, lifestyle and fitness, talent and on-stage question.
“I am probably most comfortable with the interview portion,” said Frank, who following a two-year stint with Young Americans is a freshmen majoring in business. “With my job at the Bronco Connection (a Western Michigan University alumni relations association), I talk with people all day. The talent portion has been a lot of work, with evening gown I have to concentrate on walking gracefully and wearing a swimsuit on stage is just awkward.”
Frank, a vocalist, had a selection chosen until she sang and played guitar at a Children’s Art Exhibit in Belding.
“It was an ’80s theme and Audrey sang and played her acoustic guitar to Cyndi Lauper’s ‘True Colors,’” said Julie Stephens, executive director of the Miss Danish Festival Pageant. “Audrey’s mom suggested she do this instead, I liked the idea, and Audrey felt very comfortable with it.”
One very unique aspect of Frank’s appearance will be the fact that she has designed and made much of her wardrobe.
“I have worked every day since December sewing on my evening gown. It is a royal blue satin in a halter style and a longer train on the skirt,” the Greenville High School graduate said. “Tammy Hollenshead made me a beaded belt for it, along with making all my jewelry to go with my outfits.”
She has opted for a vintage-style dress with a butterfly top and shift skirt, and a two-piece blue swimsuit with a bandeau top.
“I really like it,” she said, “It is not something you would actually swim in, it is not practical at all, but it fits what I need for competition.”
Frank and Stephens have talked nearly every day the past year in preparation for the week.
“Audrey is very talkative and very approachable. The judges will see she is genuine,” said Stephens, “There are different phases of competition, but the judges have to look at the girl as an overall package. Audrey is a real package deal and very presentable for what they are looking for.”
Two other Greenville women, Young Miss Danish Festival 2011 Brianna Van Houten and her predecessor Young Miss 2010 Alisha Gatchel, will be competing for the Miss Michigan’s Outstanding Teen contest. The preliminary round is Tuesday with the winner announced on Wednesday.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.