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The Big Week Is Here
For Miss Brunswick County
BY LYNN CARLSON
The look and sound will be quin
tessential jazz singer when Lamiece
Laneer McKoy of Winnabow steps
up to the microphone this week to
perform for the Miss North Carolina
Scholarship Pageant talent judges.
And no matter how accustomed
they are to scrutinizing beautiful, tal
ented women, she's bound to knock
When the shapely Miss Bruns
wick County 1993 belts out Duke
Ellington's "Hit Me With A Hot
Note" she'll be wearing a lire-engine
red bugle-beaded strapless sheath
gown with matching long gloves.
People will pay attention.
One might think that with a
singing talent like hers, McKoy
might aspire to a career in the per
forming arts. But she has loftier
goals. The rising senior at UNC
Chapel Hill is majoring in pre-law
sociology with dreams of attending
law school at either Carolina or
Howard and becoming a district at
torney?and someday a judge.
She has a role model in Miss
America 1991. Marjorie Judith
Vincent of Illinois, a law student at
nearby Duke University, once in
spired McKoy from afar and has tak
en time to share competition hints
since McKoy won the Miss
Brunswick County Scholarship
Pageant in February.
By McKoy's side throughout the
pageant will be David Clegg, former
Brunswick County manager and
mentor to the past nine Miss
Brunswick County winners. Clegg,
president of the Miss Brunswick
County Scholarship Pageant, has
seen to every detail of McKoy's
reign and Miss North Carolina
pageant preparation. They've spent
long car rides between appearances
"talking, talking and talking" about
issues and events to prepare for the
As both McKoy and Clegg are
quick to point out, it's about more
than sequins and tiaras. It's about
squeezing every bit of opportunity
out of your looks, talent and, most
importantly, your communication
Clegg runs down a quick bio of
the nine local queens he's worked
with. Among them are a physician, a
successful entrepreneur, a teacher, a
banker, a graduate student, an under
graduate, a studio owner and the
wife of an official of the government
MISS BRUNSWICK COUNTY, Lar niece I mincer McKoy, is parti
cipating this week in the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Pageant
in Raleigh. The finals will be televised Saturday at 9 p.m. on
Y/ECT Channel 6.
They'll be there in the audience at tition made her decide to try it again.
Saturday night's Miss North The second time was the charm.
Carolina Pageant finals to support The months between becoming
McKoy. So will her mother Janet Miss Brunswick County and com
and sister Jussani, along with a cou- peting her junior year at Carolina
pie of her aunts. have been a whirlwind of studies and
It's the potential of pageant com- appearances, voice lessons and phys
petition to clear the path to success ical work-outs. She's made 17 ap
that attracted McKoy. She was sec- pearances in 17 weeks, including
ond runner-up for Miss Brunswick performing at the Azalea and
County in 1992. She has been first Dogwood festivals and presiding
runner-up for both Miss Durham- over "lots of grand openings."
Chapel Hill and Miss Greater Though school ended May 17, the
Raleigh. Looking at videotape of her routine has intensified for McKoy.
first Miss Brunswick County compe- who has stepped up her rehearsal and
exercise regimen in preparation for
this week's competition. The voice
which thrilled the Miss Brunswick
County pageant audience with
Natalie Cole's "Orange-Colored
Sky" is even stronger now. thanks to
a voice coach McKoy said shares her
philosophy that "singing does not
just come from your lungs."
McKoy's performance style is in
spired by Patti LaBelle "for her in
credible stage presence" and Nancy
Wilson, whose seemingly effortless
voice "just comes out and makes it
look so easy."
When McKoy does "Hit Me With
A Hot Note" she'll be singing to an
original arrangement made just for
her by Milton Smith of Fayetteville.
who was pianist for Elvis Presley.
"He's outdone himself with this
one," Clegg believes.
It's not singing for the judges, or
talking with them, that has McKoy
most nervous about the pageant.
She's been a singer all her life, from
crooning into a curtain rod as a little
girl, to performing in the choir at
Wilmington's Union Baptist Church.
She wants to be a lawyer, so answer
ing questions extemporaneously is
no problem, either.
What's scary about the pageant is
the dreaded swimsuit competition,
"where you can't hide a thing;
you're just vulnerable."
Too bad moral support can't take
the jitters away. Between her family,
and Clegg, and the sisterhood of for
mer Miss Brunswick County win
ners, McKoy would be downright
nonchalant. Even parading around in
a bathing suit and high heels.
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