By Rickey Miller
This past weekend was a big weekend for Miss LSU – USA, Ashley Barbier and Miss Baton Rouge – USA, Devin Boyd headed to Lafayette, Louisiana to compete for the crown of Miss Louisiana – USA. The two-night event took place at the Heymann Performing Arts Center where supports of both Barbier and Boyd gathered to cheer on these two talented young women. And although neither Barbier nor Boyd took the winning crown as Miss Louisiana – USA, they both say explain why they still feel like winners at heart.
Barbier explains, “Even though I didn’t win, I gained friends and took away a lot of experiences.” You know, pageants are a double-edged sword; they can build you up or bring you down. The important part is realizing that you have to take experiences from it and at the end of the day I’m still Miss LSU, so it’s still the best title in the world. It doesn’t stop here.”
One accomplishment that Barbier did say she achieved this weekend and is very proud of was making it into the top 15 – “Just to be in that top 15 was very special.”
Barbier says that one of the most important things she did this weekend was recruiting a lot of girls from LSU. “It is and has always been important to me to reach out to girls, not just in Greek students. Me, being a Greek titleholder, I try to reach out to those who aren’t necessarily in the Greek community. I like to expand my demographics and connect with all types of students”
When asked about her favorite part of the competition during the pageant weekend, Barbier replied, “Evening Gown. I loved my gown and how it felt so graceful.”
She also added that her least favorite part of the weekend was the waiting process –
“Waiting around was the worst part. Just like the waiting period in between, just being like anxious and not knowing what’s going to happen. It was very nerve racking. I was like ‘I just want this to happen, I just want to know!’ The day after interviews was the most intense part. We did interviews that morning and we didn’t find out top 15 until later that night.”
As for what is next for Ashley Barbier, she explains that she plans on continuing her role as Miss LSU and she wants to continue to be a positive representative and role model for the campus she loves so much.
Running for the crown, along with Barbier was contestant, Devin Boyd – who says like Barbier although she didn’t win, she wouldn’t change a thing.
“I was really upset that I didn’t win, just because I put so much hard work into it – but it wasn’t my first time to compete. I’ve competed before and the closest I ever got was first runner up and every since then I just knew in my heart that one day I would be Miss Louisiana – USA”
Boyd, who is a native of Baton Rouge and a graduate of LSU, says that throughout the competition she has learned a lot about herself – “I’ve grown as a person, I’ve pushed myself to new limits, and made a lot of new friends.”
Although Boyd didn’t win the crown she did place in top 10 and received the award for best swimsuit body– “I was super excited about that. I’ve won swimsuit one other time before, the year I actually got first runner-up. So it meant a lot to take home the swimsuit award two times at the state level because that’s a really tough task.”
She continues by saying that it was a great feeling being recognized for her hard work that she has put into getting her body into tip-top shape – “It was really hard. I had to go without eating and drinking things that I didn’t even know I could go that long without.” It takes a lot of work and just to be given that award meant a lot.”
And also like Barbier, Boyd says that one of her favorite part of the competition was gown – “I loved my gown this year. It was simple but different. It was my dream gown”
Boyd also says that although she is disappointed she didn’t win the title of Miss Louisiana – USA, she plans on making the most of her Miss Baton Rouge title.
“I was born and raised here, Baton Rouge is my hometown, so it’s special for me to represent and be Baton Rouge. I entered Miss Baton Rouge because my dream was to be Miss Louisiana – USA. I always wanted to represent my state but representing my city would give me a great opportunity to meet people, impact people, and make a difference and so I entered Miss Baton Rouge and I won. I’m so grateful that I won, I’m so glad that I entered. It was the best decision I could have made. I always said even if I won Miss Louisiana, Miss Baton Rouge title would always hold the most special place in my heart because it’s my city.”
The crowning winner from the weekend was a Lake Charles native and 21-year-old, Maaliyah Papillion. Barbier ends by saying she is very happy for the winner. She states “She is very deserving, she’s super sweet, and I’ve known her for a very long time.” Boyd says that she is very proud of all the girls from the weekend and she would do it all again if she could.