MaKenna Thibodeaux speed paints a profile portrait of Jesus Christ during the crucifixion. She will be required to finish the painting in about 90 seconds when she does it at the Miss Kentucky Pageant. This one sold at the luncheon for $300.

So what’s a girl to do when she doesn’t sing or dance, but she still has to present a talent for a beauty pageant.

If you are Miss NIBROC Festival 2016 MaKenna Thibodeaux, the answer to that question is you learn to paint very quickly.

Thibodeaux was the keynote speaker during Tuesday’s monthly Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce meeting, which was held at the Cumberland Inn, and put on a speed painting demonstration for the crowd.

Thibodeaux will make history this summer as she becomes the first Miss NIBROC to compete in the Miss Kentucky Pageant, which will be held June 29 – July 1 at Lexington’s Singletary Center.

While the Miss NIBROC Pageant doesn’t have a talent competition, Thibodeaux said she knew talent would be a required element as she went on to compete in the Miss Kentucky Pageant, which is a qualifier for the Miss America Pageant.

“I have not grown up doing pageants so I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t play an instrument or any of those things. Making a talent, I wasn’t going to force myself to do something that is not natural to me,” Thibodeaux said.
“Painting is something I have always enjoyed doing. It expresses me in who I am. It is different and unique and that is who I am.”

Thibodeaux said that she had seen speed painting done a couple of times in person and thought it was quite neat, and six months ago she began taking lessons while going to college at the University of Louisville where she is an honors student, who plans to become a dentist.

Thibodeaux’s painting performance Tuesday at the chamber luncheon took her about two minutes and for the competition, she is going to have to cut the routine down to 90 seconds, which means lots more practice between now and the pageant.

“This just means so much to me because being able to paint my Christ and my Savior Lord, who died on the cross for me and knowing that I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to make this perfect every time. I hope this is able to minister somewhat to you and give you a little bit brighter day,” Thibodeaux told the crowd after finishing her painting Tuesday.

Thibodeaux said that it is quite an honor to be representing this area in the Miss Kentucky Pageant.

“I am so proud of being able to bring who I am and the values that I have from a small town and everything that we are. Just being able to represent that is going to be awesome and I am so excited,” she said.

Thibodeaux’s painting Tuesday was auctioned off during the chamber luncheon to Tommy Black with Remax Signature Realty, who made the winning $300 bid.

Black’s $300 bid will go to Children’s Miracle Network.

During Tuesday’s luncheon, Chamber Executive Director Bruce Carpenter presented Thibodeaux with a $1,500 check from the chamber’s board of directors to help offset her expenses from competing in the pageant.

“I have always enjoyed serving so being Miss NIBROC and being involved in a role where you are serving is no strange thing to me. Pouring my heart out to someone else that needs my attention and my time is something that I just genuinely really do enjoy,” she added.

Thibodeaux’s platform for the pageant is “Smile Kentucky” which is a program that teaches dental health to students.

Thibodeaux said that the most common disease that affects elementary school children in Kentucky is dental decay.

“A lot of students do not understand the proper techniques for brushing their teeth, taking care of their teeth or visiting the dentist,” she noted. “Also it is important helping them about making healthy choices about snacks.”

Thibodeaux said she enjoys going into schools, talking to students about dental health, and going through fun activities with them so that later they can apply the skills she teaches.

In addition to her platform, Thibodeaux also works to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network, which the Miss Kentucky program and Miss America program also donate money towards.

Thibodeaux noted that she has always focused her whole life on the motto that you can do anything you want, but you can’t do everything you want.

“Pick a few small things in your life that you are going to choose to make a difference in. Pick a few small things that you are going to choose to really work hard for. You work really hard for those things and don’t spread yourself too thin,” she added.”

“I hope that I am able to impact children to building healthy smiles, and helping them get the most out of their life that they can.”

Tuesday’s luncheon was sponsored by Bluegrass Care Navigators, which was formerly known as Hospice of the Bluegrass.

The company was founded in 1978, and changed its name to Bluegrass Care Navigators in January.