Miss Auburn University: “It’s surreal representing my Auburn family on the Miss Alabama stage”

News Leader 9 spoke with Miss Auburn University 2022 McKenzie Gay as she prepares for tonight’s preliminary talent competition.
Miss Auburn University: “It’s surreal representing my Auburn family on the Miss Alabama stage”
Miss Auburn University: “It’s surreal representing my Auburn family on the Miss Alabama stage”(Source: McKenzie Gay)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:23 PM EDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WTVM) - Samford University welcomes 40 women from across the state of Alabama to the Wright Center as they compete for the title of Miss Alabama 2022.

For candidate No. 28, it is more than just a competition -- it is a chance to bring the title back to the plains, a community she proudly represents. McKenzie Gay, 21, of Woodland, Alabama, began her year-long reign as Miss Auburn University back in October 2021.

The Miss Auburn University Scholarship Program provides women competing with assistance in furthering their education. It is a preliminary to the Miss Alabama Competition. The Miss Alabama Organization will send the winner of this weekend’s competition to the Miss America National Competition in 2023. The program is a year-round opportunity for women to earn scholarships, grow their networks, learn valuable life and career skills and make a difference in their communities, according to the Miss America website.

About Miss Auburn University

  • Major: Communication
  • Classification: Junior
  • Candidate: No. 28
  • Competition group: Alpha
  • Talent: Lyrical dance to “What a Wonderful World”
  • Social impact initiative: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journey to Miss Alabama Competition

Gay began competing in the Miss America Organization while attending Southern Union State Community College. Gay says her mom encouraged her to try the competition, and with years of competitive dance history under her belt, she decided to give it a try. Gay won the title of Miss Southern Union 2020 in January before the pandemic. With her plans to compete in Miss Alabama that June put on standby, Gay finally represented Southern Union at Miss Alabama nearly two years later in June 2021.

Gay remarks that the candidates were so genuine and supportive during her first trip to the state competition. She wanted to compete for the title of Miss Auburn University to continue experiencing the bond that the candidates in the organization have. She also says that she is extremely grateful for the scholarships she has earned while competing in the Miss Alabama Organization.

Gay crowned Miss Southern Union 2022, Whitney Wright, this January. Wright is a Roanoke, Alabama, native--a neighboring town in Randolph County, Alabama, where Gay’s roots are planted.

Gay shares that she is proud to represent her home county alongside Wright.

“I am thankful to be from Randolph County. They have been so supportive of us as we have been preparing for this journey,” Gay said.

War Eagle vs. Roll Tide

For many years, Miss University of Alabama Lindsay Fincher and Gay trained at the same studio, the Dance Center on Main in Wedowee, Alabama. Their hometowns, only minutes apart. Although Fincher and Gay are collegiate rivals, Gay says it is extremely special competing on the Miss Alabama stage with someone she’s known her whole life. Last night they celebrated as Fincher tied for the Mu competition group’s talent preliminary win.

Miss AU’s Competition Schedule

  • Tuesday, June 28: Interview
  • Wednesday, June 29: Onstage Interview Social Impact Pitch
  • Thursday, June 30: Talent
  • Friday, July 1: Red Carpet
  • Saturday, July 2: Finals

I want to thank my family, friends, Miss Auburn University directors and the entire Auburn family for supporting me. I am so excited to see what the rest of the week has in store. War Eagle!

McKenzie Gay

Miss Alabama 2021 Lauren Bradford, an Auburn University graduate, will crown her successor at Saturday evening’s Finals Competition.

You can find full details on the competition schedule and information about all 40 candidates on the Miss Alabama website.

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