When Makayla Mack and her friend, Anna Grace Zehr, were growing up, they always went to the Miss NIBROC Pageant.
They used to dream about becoming Miss NIBROC, and when they were young they would put their little heals on, and parade around the Zehr’s pool deck pretending it was a pageant runway.
“We were preparing for Miss NIBROC,” Mack said smiling.
Last August, Mack competed in the Miss NIBROC Pageant for the second time and got a chance to make that childhood dream a reality by winning.
“I dreamed about it, but I never thought I would be in this position,” Mack told members of the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club during the club’s monthly meeting Thursday.
Mack said that it is an honor to be able to go out and talk to people in the community as Miss NIBROC, and to serve her community.
“Really that is what Miss NIBROC has meant to me. It is not about the crown or the sash or anything like that. It is me being able to go into elementary schools and places like this,” she added.
Earlier this month Mack represented the Miss NIBROC Pageant and competed for the crown in the Miss Kentucky Pageant. Although she didn’t win, Mack did win a $500 prize for best smile, and brought home some life skills that she says will benefit her for years to come.
Mack, who is a 2017 Williamsburg High School graduate, is currently an exercise-science and pre-physical therapy major at Western Kentucky University. She plans to get her doctorate in physical therapy.
Her platform for the Miss NIBROC and Miss Kentucky pageants was empowering women in the science technology engineering and math (STEM) fields.
While women make up 50 percent of the workforce, they only account for 25 percent of the workforce in STEM fields, and only 18 percent of the workforce in engineering.
Mack noted that she never even considered engineering as a career in part because she didn’t see any strong female role modes in that field.
As part of her platform, Mack went to see local students in third through sixth grades talking about careers in STEM fields, and the need for more women to seek careers in those fields.
“Always my driving home point was it doesn’t have to be a STEM career. You just have to chase your dreams. You are worthy. You are enough. In this day and age, truly with a little work ethic you can do whatever you want. I thought it was very important these young women hear that at an early age. They may not hear that at home. That is where it really starts,” she said.
Mack noted that this was the first year the Miss Kentucky Pageant didn’t feature a swimsuit competition, which generated a little bit of controversy. She added that the pageant isn’t just looking for a pretty face.
“They really want an articulate woman, who can represent Kentucky well,” Mack said. “Miss Kentucky, it truly is a job. You travel the state every single day.”
Mack said that being Miss NIBROC and competing in the Miss Kentucky Pageant has helped her build her interview and public speaking skills, and that any physical therapy interviews she ever has to do in the future won’t seem too difficult after the interview portion for the Miss Kentucky Pageant.
Mack hasn’t ruled out entering future pageants and trying for the Miss Kentucky crown again.
During her time at the Miss Kentucky Pageant, which is a weeklong event, Mack did learn one interesting thing about the Miss NIBROC crown.
“No one from around the state – unfortunately – knows what NIBROC is, and they always mispronounce it. It is quite comical,” she added.