Beauregard native Camden Swatts, the 2018 winner of the Miss Auburn Opelika Area pageant, will represent the area in the Miss Alabama Pageant at the Wright Center on the Samford University campus this June.
The Miss Alabama Pageant is part of the Miss America Organization. According to their website, the state’s not-for-profit program benefits all its participants with financial college assistance and seeks to give participants a foundation of self-confidence.
Swatts, a sophomore at Jacksonville State University, represented her university as Miss JSU in last year’s Miss Alabama Pageant and said she was “shocked and honored” to place in the top 12. This year, she said she plans to continue to prepare as much as possible and be content with the outcome.
“I will … just try my best to focus on my talent, be aware of current events and be able to express who I am and my goals to the judges,” Swatts said. “I will enjoy every step of the way to the state pageant and be happy with the results knowing I did my best.”
Through her platform, Fibromyalgia Awareness, Swatts hopes to increase understanding, acceptance and better treatment for those suffering with the disorder.
Pageants are also opportunities for personal growth in Swatts’ eyes.
“Since last year, I have changed so much and conquered many fears through being in pageants,” Swatts explained. “I encourage girls to step outside of their comfort zone because that is where you become who you are meant to be.”
According to Swatts, the onstage question is the most difficult part of a pageant because “you can never predict what you will be asked.” However, she said she enjoys the interview with the judges because it allows them to get to know her before she steps onstage.
Putting her dancing talents on display is Swatts’ favorite part. Having grown up dancing at Opelika’s Make Your Move Performing Arts Studio, Swatts said it was a special moment when she received the Make Your Move Performing Arts talent award at the Miss Auburn Opelika Area pageant.
“I miss being in the studio and in dance competitions, so pageants help me keep the part of my life that I love so much,” Swatts said.
Outside of pageants and dancing, Swatts said she enjoys waterskiing and spending time on Lake Martin, as well as helping her family cook. As a student majoring in family and consumer sciences with a concentration in dietetics, Swatts said she hopes to earn a master’s degree in dietetics and develop a career through which she can help patients change their diets to treat medical conditions. She also emphasized her desire to guide others in living healthier lifestyles.
Swatts said she has been “called to be in pageants” and credits God with giving her opportunities she never imagined she would have. She also noted that pageants have allowed her to meet “amazing girls” and make new friends. She recognized her family, friends and hometown for their continued support in the process.
“Even though I am two hours away now (at school), I still feel so close to all the people from this area because of the love and encouragement they give me,” Swatts said. “Growing up, I constantly saw families and friends caring for and helping each other. Everyone is just so uplifting, and I am very grateful for that.”