story and photos by Ruby Dean
Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady made a trip back to Fort Smith for the first time since being in the Miss America Pageant where she was first runner-up.
On Saturday (Feb. 5), about 150 area residents gathered at the Pavilion in downtown Fort Smith to welcome her back to her home town and congratulate her on her success.
Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders presented Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady and her parents, Lady and Lewis Eady, with a proclamation establishing Feb. 5, 2011, as Alyse Eady and Lewis and Lady Eady Day.
Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady appeared teary eyed as she took to the podium to say “thank you” to her supporters and friends.
“It feels good to be back home. Seeing all of my supporters makes me feel great,” Eady said.
Alyse Eady will return to Fort Smith for the Miss University of Arkansas at Fort Smith pageant in March. The pageant is a preliminary to the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant and the Miss America Pageant.
Since being in pageants, Alyse has won $48,000 in scholarships which has helped with college. Alyse said “pageants are one of the top providers in scholarships for women.”
She plans on obtaining a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
When asked why she chose ventriloquism as her talent, she noted: “It was a unique talent and not everyone has that talent.”
Alyse has been a ventriloquist since the age of 9. She said “it looks harder than it is, especially since I could do it at 9.”
Her most stressful event in the Miss America Pageant was the swimsuit competition.
“It is just not natural to wear a bikini with 4 ½ inch heels,” she explained.
Alyse wants to stay involved with pageants and help other contestants.
During the last seconds before announcing who the winner was in the Miss America Pageant, Alyse said she “felt peaceful.” She knew that either way she would be “OK because she would still be Miss Arkansas.” She will wear the crown of Miss Arkansas five more months before a new Miss Arkansas is crowned.
After thanking everyone, Miss Arkansas signed autographs and took photos with guests while cake and punch were served.