Lauren Couch was named Miss Victoria more than a decade ago but still recalls what she learned from her experience in the pageant.
“That was my first run learning how to manage myself professionally, and it gave me a lot of good life skills,” she said. “I think the competition broke me out of my shell (because) I was a lot more shy and confined and tended to keep to myself before that pageant.”
Couch, a 29-year-old Victoria resident, is among many former Miss Victorias who will attend the 50th Miss Victoria Pageant on Saturday evening to celebrate the program for young women that continues to thrive after half a century. The granddaughter of the pageant’s first Miss Victoria, Sandra Parker, will also attend in her honor, said Debbie Green, director and owner of the pageant, who is also celebrating 30 years in her role.
“It is just great that we’ve had this organization training young ladies for 50 years,” Green said.
A total of 21 contestants will compete for a spot on the Miss Victoria court, composed of a Miss Victoria for ages 17-20, Junior Miss Victoria for ages 12-16, Young Miss Victoria for ages 8-11 and Little Miss Victoria for ages 4-7.
The contestants are scored in three categories during the competition: private interview, formal wear with a prepared speech and final question. Each category plays into overall scores for contestants.
For the prepared speech category, Green said she decided to have contestants interview former Miss Victorias in honor of the 50th anniversary.
“We always gave them a subject for the public speaking, and we thought it would be neat and interesting for them to talk about the lives of former winners,” Green said.
Couch’s mom, Carol Goodman-Madden, 53, will also attend as a former Miss Victoria.
Couch and Goodman-Madden are the only mom and daughter to have shared the title. The two were crowned in 2007 and 1983, respectively.
“My mom was Miss Victoria, and that is kind of why I did it,” Couch said. “I just wanted to do it to see if I could win and make her proud. I knew that would be a neat thing to share the title with her.”
Goodman-Madden said serving as Miss Victoria and supporting her daughter through her year with the title helped her develop her love for community service.
“When my daughter was Miss Victoria, we worked with Faith Family Church and handed out backpacks and school supplies, we did the Thanksgiving meal ... so many parades and a lot of service events,” she said. “Debbie and that group of girls (on the court) do such wonderful things for the community; I don’t think people realize just how much they do.”
Among other lessons, Green said she has been teaching contestants to be emotionally prepared for both winning and not winning crowns during training classes at her dance studio – South Texas Strutters Studio.
Couch echoed Green through her own advice to contestants.
“Be yourself and have fun, and remember that whether you win or not, it is still a great experience for everybody involved,” she said.