WKU student named Miss Kentucky

Amira Ahmetovic

Ever since she was a little girl, Ann-Blair Thornton had dreams of pageant royalty.

Now she’s one step closer to seeing those dreams come true.

Ann-Blair, a Bowling Green native, took the crown at Saturday night’s Miss Kentucky pageant, beating out 31 other contestants at the University of Kentucky Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington.

Ann-Blair’s parents, Steve and Theresa, said they had mixed emotions of joy and pride.

“She wanted it for so long,” Steve said. “It’s a dream come true. Hard work pays off.”

“Mixed feelings of shock and amazement” Theresa said of how she felt. “We’re elated.”

“When she was 3 years old she said she was going to be Miss America,” she added.

Ann-Blair, 21, a senior double majoring in English and economics, will receive an $11,000 scholarship and more than $5,000 in other prizes.

Her platform issue is Alzheimer’s Disease awareness and research, inspired by her own grandfather’s struggle with the disease, according to the Miss Kentucky Scholarship Organization website.

Theresa said that as Miss Kentucky, her daughter will move to Lexington for the next year and serve as the spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Proud program, which encourages consumers to purchase products produced in Kentucky.

During the pageant, Ann-Blair’s talent was a piano performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor.

Theresa said she motivated her daughter to continue piano lessons by telling her, “You need a talent if you’re going to be Miss America.”

Ann-Blair competed in her first pageant when she was 15 years old. She finished second runner-up.

Thornton also served as Miss Kentucky’s Outstanding Teen in 2007 and placed fourth runner-up at the 2007 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.

At this year’s pageant, Ann-Blair also won the preliminary lifestyle & fitness in swimsuit award.

Thornton will represent Kentucky in the Miss America Pageant on Jan. 14 at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The pageant will be broadcast live on ABC.

Steve said that following her reign as Miss Kentucky, Ann-Blair plans on completing her undergraduate degree at WKU. She eventually hopes to attend law school, he said.

Ann-Blair is a Bowling Green High School graduate, a member of Chi Omega sorority and former WKU SGA senator.

“It was very special to bring the crown back to my hometown,” Ann-Blair told the Bowling Green Daily News on Monday. “The community has really come together and rallied behind me, and I can’t say thank you enough.”