From Miss Volleyball to Miss Kentucky: Q & A with Katie George

By on January 22, 2015

By Noah Allison–

Louisville junior Katie George is one of the top Division I setters in collegiate volleyball. As a setter, the responsibility of her position is to create opportunities for her team and to be the unsung hero on the way to success. This past season she led U of L with 1,124 assists, far surpassing the second highest total of 428. She excels on the court, but recently took her competitive drive to new arena: pageants. In her first go at it, George has won Miss Kentucky USA and will represent U of L and the Commonwealth in the Miss USA Pageant this summer.

Q: What was your initial reaction upon your name being announced as Miss Kentucky USA?

A: When my name was called as the next Miss Kentucky USA 2015, I felt like I had an out of body experience! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Me! Katie George, the new Miss Kentucky USA. What were the chances of that happening? It was such a wonderful surprise as this was a title I never foresaw in my future. I immediately clapped and clinched my fists into the double fists that I generally use to celebrate a point on the volleyball court. But, I remembered that I wasn’t on the court but on a stage being photographed so I suppressed my tears and remembered to smile as I soaked it all in and listened to my family and friends cheer in the audience.

Q: When did you first gain interest in pageants and possibly representing Kentucky in the Miss USA Pageant?

A: The director of the Miss Kentucky USA Pageant has contacted me the past few years recruiting me to compete in the Pageant. I never really thought about entering a pageant before she contacted me. So, I started doing some research about female broadcasters who have used their titles as a way to get to know people within the television industry. I found that many females did indeed use pageants as a platform. So, she contacted me in October of 2014 and I decided to give her call, just to see what it was all about. After our phone call, I decided I would give it ago.  As my first pageant, I didn’t expect to win. I thought I could win, I hoped to win, but I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Ursuline Arts Center that day. So, I thought to myself, be yourself and just have fun being here and competing in something so new and different. It’s not everyday I get to have my hair and makeup done and walk around in a bikini and high heels.

Q: What qualities and or lessons that you’ve learned in your time at U of L, either athletically or academically, benefited you in winning Miss Kentucky?

A: I think my training as a student-athlete at the University of Louisville trained me for my first pageant much more than I thought or recognized. Everyday we train and refine our skill set in volleyball. I work on my setting abilities everyday so that I can become better at my game. The same goes for a pageant. I had to work on my walk in the same way. Obviously, I didn’t spend as much time working on my pageant skills as I do my volleyball skills but it worked out in the end. My abilities to interview with the media after volleyball matches prepared me more than I ever knew for the interview with the judging panel. The ability to perform under pressure in a tight or intense match was beneficial when I got nervous behind stage before the shows took place. Also, working for a goal, working everyday for something that you want is something that I have become familiar with as a student-athlete, which proved to be helpful in my trek to win Miss Kentucky USA.

Q: Based off what you could ascertain, which qualities of yours’ had the judges choose you to represent Kentucky in the Miss USA Pageant?

A: I think the fact that this was my first pageant ever worked to my advantage. All weekend, the Director of the Pageant mentioned how the judges are looking for a ‘real’ person, who is relatable and can be a great representative of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Well, considering it was my first pageant, I was absolutely ‘real’ in every aspect of myself. I think my ability to perform under pressure was noticed. I think my ability to laugh at myself and carry a conversation about my life and the things that I love was noticed by the judges. Also, I wasn’t a cookie-cutter, pageant girl. I didn’t have a great, refined walk. I was natural. I smiled when I wanted to and laughed when I felt like it. I was myself and I think that that’s so important. I wore my prom dress form high school. I wore high heels that were comfortable and not just sexy. These things don’t go unnoticed by the judges and I think that’s what ultimately got me crowned.

Q: As a top-notch collegiate athlete, how much does your pure competitive spirit come into play in pageants?

A: I think it comes out in full force. When I walked into the pageant on day one, I wanted to win. I think as an athlete with a competitive nature, you want to win in everything you do. At least, that’s how I feel. So, when the lights hit the stage and I heard my name called, my adrenaline was pulsing through my veins just as it does when my name is announced at the KFC Yum! Center. The competitive spirit absolutely comes out; it just comes out in a more refined, polished, way.

Q: What are your expectations for yourself heading into the Miss USA Pageant?

A: Heading into the Miss USA Pageant, I expect to win. I don’t do anything without the expectations of winning. I want to win. I want to be Miss USA 2015. I have a ton to learn. This is going to be one of the most challenging few months of my life because there is so much for me to learn in this industry but I’m willing and excited. I want to learn as much as possible and train the best way that I can so I can put myself in a position to win. If I don’t win, I want to walk away knowing that I represented myself, my family, the University of Louisville and the state of Kentucky the best way that I know how, by being myself.

Photo by Austin Lassell / The Louisville Cardinal

About Olivia Krauth

Copy Editor at The Louisville Cardinal.

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