Bowling Green senior Anne-Taylor Wilson insists that it pays to be friendly.
Wilson’s own friendliness landed her the 2011 Miss Congeniality title against 20 other candidates at Kentucky’s longest-running festival, the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival, in May.
Rhegan Redmond, chairman of the festival arrangements committee, awarded Wilson the title at the festival’s annual Queen’s Breakfast. As with most other congeniality competitions, only the queen candidates select the winner of the award.
“I just tried to have fun meeting everyone and kept the ‘try to have fun’ attitude while I was there,” Wilson said. “It was good to know everyone thought well of me. It pays to be friendly.
“I was really just honored and flattered.”
Redmond said the “Miss Congeniality” award goes to someone who displays kindness, helpfulness and who the other contestants will consider their close friend even after the festival is over.
“Anne-Taylor won by a landslide,” Redmond said. “Anne-Taylor was willing to do whatever was asked of her. She was very kind-hearted and just very sweet.”
After growing up in Bowling Green, Wilson spent her freshman year of college at the University of Kentucky and then transferred to WKU.
Wilson became a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and Order of Omega, a Greek leadership honor society.
The Order of Omega nominated her to interview with WKU faculty in order to serve as a participant in the Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival.
Festival committee members from the beginning found Wilson to be very outgoing, whereas some of the other participants had come in a bit shy.
“The whole time she was there, she didn’t take anything too serious and just tried to make the best out of the experience,” said Christopher Simouth, who was Wilson’s escort during the festival.
Simouth has known Wilson for six years and was chosen as her escort because he was the one person Wilson said she was sure would be such a good sport about it.
The pair had joked with each other about how she would end up winning Miss Congeniality.
“When she actually won, she was surprised and shocked,” Simouth said. “We weren’t even paying attention. We had been talking to all the people at our table when they called her name.”
Wilson’s undeniable quality is how approachable she is, both Simouth and Redmond agreed, which may have come from her mother, Jane, who also served as a queen candidate in the Kentucky Moutain Laurel Festival representing WKU in 1979.
“With her mother having been a representative years before, Anne-Taylor just seemed very appreciative of the festival,” Redmond said.
Wilson will graduate from WKU this December and plans to pursue her love for psychology. Unsure of all of her future plans, she hopes to graduate and earn a PhD in clinical psychology, where she will go onto to practice in the field.